U.S. Drought Wilts Crops As Officials Pray for Rain

Heat and drought in the U.S. pushed grain prices to past records on Monday as crops are getting wilted.

Intolerable heat in the U.S. Midwest raises concerns about food and fuel price inflation in the world’s top food exporter. Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture/Flickr

As reports claim, at the Chicago Board of Trade prices for soybean now are record high while corn closed near a record as millions of acres of crops seared in triple-digit heat in the Corn Belt.

For the lack of rain corn fields have been plowed up in areas. Now soybeans, which develop a bit later than corn, are in the bull’s eye, writes Reuters.

“I get on my knees everyday and I’m saying an extra prayer right now,” U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said after briefing President Barack Obama. “If I had a rain prayer or a rain dance I could do, I would do it.”

Vilsack went on, adding that the drought was even getting worse for farmers and the wilting crops will cause further rises in prices for food.

“Part of the problem we’re facing is that weather conditions were so good at the beginning of the season that farmers got in the field early, and as a result this drought comes at a very difficult and painful time in their ability to have their crops have good yield.”

Vilsack predicted that rising grain prices would rise meat and poultry prices as well this year and next, despite the possibility that the inflation may be delayed as farmers start culling their herds due to high feed prices and meat supplies stay adequate.

According to the U.S. agriculture secretary, 39 counties in eight states were marked as disaster areas as the drought now spans more than 60 percent of the country.

Vilsack revealed that the current drought – which has already affected 1,297 counties in 29 states – is the “most serious situation we’ve had probably in 25 years.”

The problem, the United States has faced, is expected to be affect the majority of other contries as the world’s biggest grain exporter struggles with shortfalls.

Statistics shows that the U.S. exports more than half of all world corn shipments and is also the single top exporter of wheat and soy.

“The dramatic rise in grain prices in the past few weeks is shaping up to be a serious financial blow for wheat importing countries,” one German trader said on Monday. “African and Middle Eastern countries are now facing painful rises in import bills.”

Earlier this week the nation’s meteorological agency announced that the United States is experiencing its widest-spread drought in 56 years.

June saw hot and dry weather, which was later ranked as the third-driest month nationally in at least 118 years, according to the center.

The released data also demonstrates that the portion of the country suffering from severe short-term drought dramatically expanded in June, up to nearly 33% from 23% the month before, reports CNN.

Forecasters predicted scattered showers on Wednesday in some parts of the eastern parts of the country and Midwest. However, relief was seen as too little and too late for many of the key areas of the central Plains and Corn Belt.

“There are no soaking rains in sight, nothing to relieve the drought,” said World Weather Inc meteorologist Andy Karst. “There will be some light rains today through Friday in the eastern Midwest.”

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