In response to a severe, ongoing drought, many Indiana livestock farmers are cutting their losses and liquidating their herds, a move that could have long-term repercussions across the state and across the country.
For the last six months, Indiana has been in the midst of a major heat wave. A dry, warm winter, led to record high temperatures this spring and summer. The first six months of 2012 have been the hottest in Indiana’s recorded history. Added to these high temperatures has been an ongoing drought that is withering crops and worrying farmers.
While corn farmers may be the go-to symbol of the drought, livestock farmers are also suffering. With the state urging residents to conserve as much water as possible, many farmers are finding it difficult to water their herds, forcing them to liquidate their animals. Hoosier pig and cattle farmers are selling off their herds in such large numbers, that processing plants are reporting widespread backups.
The sales will result in an immediate drop in prices. With a sharp increase in supply, pork and beef prices are expected to dramatically drop. However, the drop in available animals and the decrease in herd sizes will lead to major price increased in the long-term; the first increase in food prices attributable to the drought.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer