Dust Bowl May Reappear

The drought conditions that led to the 1930s Dust Bowl may be reappearing, climatologists are reporting, and farmers may soon find themselves in the same bleak positions that their Depression era counterparts did.
Last summer, farmers across the country experienced one of the worst droughts in recent memory. With temperatures soaring and with precipitation on the decline, crops withered and fields dried out, leaving farmers scrambling to salvage what they could from a series of ruined harvests.
While many farmers had high hopes for 2013, initial weather patterns indicate that the drought could get much worse before it gets better. Drought conditions for February showed more than 52 percent of the United States experiencing drought conditions, as compared with 39 percent at the same time last year.
If temperatures increase and rainfall decreases, which it is expected to do, this year’s drought could be even worse than last year’s. Federal researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are predicting a less than 20 percent chance that the drought will end in the next six months.
A more severe drought could easily result in more crop failures, increased costs for farmers and taxpayers (who will need to pay out even higher crop insurance payments), and higher food prices for consumers.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer