Heavy rainfall over the past few weeks has hammered the Midwest, leading to record floods across the region. Dozens of towns surrounding the Mississippi River and its tributaries have been evacuated. The devastating flooding, combined with the overall wet weather in general, has paralyzed agricultural production in the region.
Kentucky has recently joined the list of state seeking federal aid, as Governor Steve Beshear asked the USDA to declare a state of emergency in 17 Kentucky counties hit by the spring flooding. “The severe storms and flooding have significantly impacted Kentucky’s farms and assistance from the USDA is critical and necessary to offset resulting income loss,” Beshear said. He also stated that he has not ruled out expanding the state of emergency to include future counties if the extreme weather keeps up.
Kentucky is just one of a long list of states reeling under the flood’s onslaught. Missouri has already lost significant amounts of farmland, much of it sacrificed in order to protect populated parts of Illinois. In addition, farmers across the region have expressed unwillingness to plant spring crops, citing overly saturated soil.
The flooding in the Midwest, combined with severe droughts in the southwest, could cause food prices to rise. The loss of major crops and the loss of precious growing time could lower U.S. yields which, when combined with increased demand from overseas and increased ethanol production, could drive up the prices of agricultural goods.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer