Missouri Farmers Facing Flash Droughts

For the second year in a row, Missouri farmers are facing drought conditions that threaten their spring and summer harvests.

Last year, the state faced a serious drought that cost grain farmers more than $350 million in lost revenue. Corn farmers, for example, lost 24 million bushels of corn and soybean farmers lost about 20 million. In addition to crop losses, ranchers were hit hard by a serious lack of hay and livestock feed.

The Missouri drought was hardly isolated. For more than a year, Texas farmers endured one of the worst droughts in the state’s history, one that could end up costing Texas more than $8 billion. In addition to hammering crop production, the drought forced countless cattle ranchers out of business. Similar conditions were experienced throughout the Southwest.

Missouri farmers are now facing flash droughts, quick bursts of dry heat that could threaten crops across the state. For the past several weeks, Missouri has experienced lower than average rainfall and higher than average temperatures. The sudden burst of dry heat is leaching moisture out of many crops and, if it continues, could lead to massive die-offs and crop failures.

The higher than average temperatures appearing across the country are evidence of climate change, some experts say, with many scientists believing that warmer than average winters and dryer than average springs could be new climatological fact of life.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer