Drought Is Drying Out Many Farmers’ Dreams

As portions of the United States endure scorching drought, livestock producers are struggling to see the silver lining. Some states have an above-average lack of rainfall while others fight off devastating fires. During my trip home to southern Iowa this weekend, I saw firsthand the struggles many farmers are facing.

In desperate need of a decent downpour, many cattle producers are making plans to liquidate part of their cattle herds. Several of our family friends in south central Missouri are panicking due to their inability to produce enough hay to feed their cows during the coming winter. Other farmers watch their cattle chew up the last few blades of grass left in their previously bountiful pastures that are now fried crispy. With shortages of hay through a portion of the corn belt and prices through the roof, farmers are leaning toward chopping corn for silage or bailing corn and soybeans. Water is a big issue for producers as well. On some farms, creeks and ponds have dried up and require farmers to truck water to their livestock. If rain doesn’t start falling, many farmers will be forced to make some tough decisions.

It’s hot not only in the Midwest, but also in the media as the following articles discuss climate change, heatwaves, and drought tolerance:

Preparing to Beat The Heat:

While we can’t always prevent disasters such as fires, floods, tornados, and overturned trucks, preparation and coordinated response plans can help minimize losses.

Creative Thinking Leads to Innovation in Texas:

In west Texas, drought is a constant plague–but when this cattle producer’s well runs dry, he sleeps much better at night knowing that he has alternative resources in place.

Drought–A Deeper Problem:

Scientists have realized the recent heatwaves and drought could be having a deeper, more negative effect on soil than they originally thought. The impact could affect the entire ecosystem.

Breeding Heat Resilience into Grain: 

Warm, dry days have been taking a toll on Arkansas’ rice crop, encouraging University of Arkansas researchers to work on breeding heat resilience into the grain.

By: Kylie Peterson (image from drought.gov)

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