Corn plants dry in a drought-stricken farm field on July 17 near Fritchton, Ind. The corn and soybean belt in the middle of the nation is experiencing one of the worst droughts in more than five decades.
Stop by most any unirrigated farm across the lower Midwest and you'll see crops in distress. Midwestern corn and soybean farmers are taking a beating during the recent drought, but it's not likely to drive many out of business.
Most of those farmers carry terrific insurance, and the worse the drought becomes, the more individual farmers will be paid for their lost crops. The federal government picks up most of the cost of the crop insurance program, and this year that bill is going to be a whopper.
Updated with comments from McCaskill conference call.
The entire state of Missouri is now a federal agriculture disaster area.
Seventeen of the state's counties, mostly in the Bootheel, had already received that declaration. Today's announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture extends that declaration to the other 97 counties and the city of St. Louis.
Illinois to offer programs for those affected by drought
Gov. Pat Quinn says Illinois will offer an array of debt restructuring and loan programs to farmers and ranchers affected by the drought. He visited a family farm in the southern Illinois area Monday, where much of the corn crop is wilting.
Quinn to announce plan to address Illinois' drought
Gov. Pat Quinn plans a visit to a southern Illinois farm today. The Illinois Farm Bureau says that so far, it's the sixth driest year on record. The average precipitation of the first half of the year was 12.6 inches. Much of Illinois' corn and soybean crop is suffering. Farm officials say southern Illinois is experiencing the worst of it. Quinn is expected to detail whatever government relief may be available to drought-affected growers and ranchers.
Dry conditions are expected to get worse in the coming days, and it will take a whole lot more than scattered thunderstorms to break the drought.
“We’re way, way, way below normal in rainfall,” National Weather Service Meteorologist Fred Glass said. “Most of the area is in severe drought conditions, it’s going to quite a bit of rain to make that up, probably in many areas 8-12 inches, and in some areas in excess of 12 inches.”
The death toll from the recent heat wave in St. Louis is up to 14.
The city announced yesterday that four more individuals- three men and a woman- had succumbed to the triple-digit temperatures. The exact circumstances of their deaths were not provided.
The rising death toll has prompted Mayor Francis Slay to create a coordinated severe weather response program that will include the city's health, human services, public safety and building departments.