Farmers across the Midwest are currently facing a severe drought combined with record high temperatures. The drought comes in the middle of ambitious plans to plant the largest corn crop in recent history, leading some farmers and analysts to worry about future crop prices and the U.S. food supply.
Farmer across the Midwest had originally intended this spring and summer to be the season they planted and harvested the nation’s largest corn crop in recent memory. With corn prices at record highs (largely thanks to increased ethanol demand), farmers had hoped to cash in, with many going so far as to refuse renewing Conservation Reserve contracts to maximize available acreage.
However, a hot dry spring has led to summer droughts, leaving many farmers worried about their crops. States like Indiana have experienced the hottest first half of the year since the 1800s. In addition to high temperatures, many Midwestern states are receiving well below average rainfall, leaving grass brown and fields dusty.
A poor corn harvest could also seriously complicate an ongoing food crisis. American corn stockpiles are low, largely due to increased demand. A weak harvest could further lower stockpiles, leading to increased food prices and a potential economic downturn. Some politicians are calling for an end to ethanol subsidies, hoping that lowered demand for the biofuels will ease pressures on the food supply and prevent a sharp price increase.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer