And The Drought Marches On

The last thing on the minds of many Americans this holiday season is probably the ongoing U.S. drought.

I’m concerned however. Especially as I’ve heard recent reports of the drought getting worse in areas of the country and forecasts for a drier-than-average winter for the nation’s breadbasket.

Carey Gillam wrote on the Reuters website this afternoon:

Drought is tightening its grip on the central United States as winter weather sets in, threatening to ravage the new wheat crop and spelling more hardship for farmers and ranchers already weary of the costly and ongoing dry conditions.

While conditions started to improve earlier in November, they turned harsh to close out the month as above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation proved a dire combination in many regions, according to the Drought Monitor, a weekly compilation of data gathered by federal and academic scientists issued Thursday.

Forecasts for the next several days show little to no relief and weather watchers are predicting a drier than average winter for much of the central United States.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Sounds like the “summer drought” may not be ending anytime soon. The same goes for rising food prices. Patrick Burke wrote on CNSNews.com earlier today:

U.S. Department of Agriculture economists are predicting that the price of meat, poultry and other farm products will continue to rise in 2013, thanks largely to the drought…

The price of poultry, which went up by 5.5 percent between Oct. 2011 and 2012, is expected to go up between 5 and 6 percent during 2013, according to USDA forecasts.

Beef and veal products are expected to rise by 5.5-6.5 percent in 2013 and the price of pork will likely go up by 1-2 percent.

I wonder how much of these rising prices is due to drought, and how much is due to inflation.

Sources:

Gillam, Carey. “U.S. drought expands, blankets High Plains.” Reuters. 29 Nov. 2012. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/29/usa-drought-idUSL1E8MT5H220121129). 29 Nov. 2012.

Burke, Patrick. “USDA: Meat, Poultry Prices to Rise Even Higher in 2013 — Thanks to Drought.” CNSNews.com. 29 Nov. 2012. (http://cnsnews.com/news/article/usda-meat-poultry-prices-rise-even-higher-2013-thanks-drought). 29 Nov. 2012.

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Thursday, November 29th, 2012 Agriculture, Commodities, Farming, Food, Inflation, Weather

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