Drought in the U.S. Taking Its Toll on Farmers, Global Food Market
USA Severe // Drought
DES MOINES -- Following a rainless July along with daily temperatures reaching 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, farmers in Iowa are now anticipating a harvest of just 70 to 80 bushels for every acre of corn field. This is a far cry from the previous average of 180 to 220 bushels an acre. They are hoping for rain to come this month, which is the most crucial time for soy bean pods to be filled. The crops really need moisture and rain otherwise the flowers will dry up. The midwest state of Iowa is considered as a "God-chosen" farming area, where additional government investment in irrigation is rarely required. Prior to the ongoing drought, the state had witnessed five consecutive years of favorable weather, and 24 straight years without drought. Iowa Agriculture Secretary Bill Northey said the state only has approximately 0.5 or 1 percent of its agricultural land irrigated, which means it is largely dependent on rainfall that comes every year. Today, 42 out of the 99 counties in the state are in dire need of rain. The same grim scenario is prevailing in 1,410 counties across 31 other states throughout the U.S. According to the latest report by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the figure represents 50.3% of the entire land of the country, a record proportion which was virtually unheard of in over half a century. Iowa is not the hardest-hit area but it has a significant effect on the global food market. Dubbed as the "Food Capital of the World," Iowa sits on the Corn Belt and leads the U.S. in terms of production of corn and soybeans. It is also a key producer of beef, pork and chicken. Each year, Iowa exports about 7 billion dollars worth of agricultural products to China. About 50 percent of these products are soybeans while the rest includes beef, corn and pork.
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