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2012 & Beyond: Drought Conditions Expected Through 2013

Midwest farmers especially hit hard

By Mary Silver
Epoch Times Staff
Created: December 30, 2012 Last Updated: December 31, 2012
Related articles: United States » National News
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A farmer sifts through arid topsoil under a ruined crop on the family farm in Logan, Kan., in August. The drought of 2012 had a devastating effect on farmers in the Midwest. (John Moore/Getty Images)

A farmer sifts through arid topsoil under a ruined crop on the family farm in Logan, Kan., in August. The drought of 2012 had a devastating effect on farmers in the Midwest. (John Moore/Getty Images)

In 2012, the worst drought in 25 years caused a crisis for farmers not only because of direct crop failures, but also because feed and irrigation costs rose, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ranchers had to cull their herds because they could not afford to feed the animals. Corn and soybean crops in the Midwest shrank, and a ripple effect on food prices will be evident in 2013. Beef, pork, and milk prices will rise because grain prices for feed will rise.

More than half—56 percent—of the continental United States was in drought in 2012, making it the worst drought in 25 years, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). It was the largest area of the nation to be in drought since the U.S. Drought Monitor began keeping records 12 years ago.

According to the NWS, drought will persist or intensify over most of the country into 2013.

The middle of the country will continue to endure drier-than-normal conditions at least until spring. Droughts in Hawaii, Florida, and Georgia are also predicted to continue or worsen, according to NWS.

Winter storms usually reduce drought, and some states are expected to get relief.

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