Why is the heartland of the United States experiencing such a horrific drought right now? At the moment, approximately 61 percent of the entire nation is experiencing drought conditions, and this is absolutely devastating farmers and ranchers all over the country. Less than two weeks ago I wrote an article asking what would happen if these drought conditions persisted, and now we are finding out. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has created the largest natural disaster area in U.S. history. The USDA has declared 1,016 counties in 26 U.S. states to be disaster areas. The USDA declaration basically covered about half of the nation, and there is now no denying how horrible this drought really is. You can see a map of this disaster area right here. This endless drought is being compared to the nightmarish drought of 1988, and if it persists into August it could become perhaps the worst drought that America has ever seen. The USDA says that approximately 60 percent of all corn in the country is experiencing “moderate to extreme” drought conditions. If this drought does not end soon, the losses are going to be mind blowing. Already, it is estimated that farmers and ranchers have suffered billions of dollars in damage. How much worse can things get?
At the beginning of July many were hoping that we would soon see some rain and that we could still see a decent corn harvest.
Unfortunately, the drought has gotten even worse since that time. The following is from an article in the Chicago Tribune….
The whole of Iowa was classified as abnormally dry as of July 10 and 12.7 percent of the top corn and soybean producing state was in severe drought, up from 0.8 percent the prior week.
Harder-hit Illinois, the No. 2 corn and soy state, was 66.28 percent under severe drought or worse, up from 40 percent the previous week.
Severe to exceptional drought covered 80.15 percent of Indiana, versus 68.84 percent the prior week.
Conditions in Missouri also deteriorated, with 82.54 percent of the state in severe drought or worse, compared with 78.83 percent the week before.
That is not good news.