Ouch. It’s so bad for farmers and ranchers, I feel like I don’t get to complain about the oven (read: my car) I get into every night to drive home.
The heat wave that scorched much of the Great Plains in the late June and early July heat wave, coupled with persistent dry weather, has created poor conditions in 30 percent of the corn crop in 18 states, the Drought Monitor reported. The heat is also hurting livestock producers, with half the country's pastures and ranges now reported in poor condition, up from 28 percent last month.
But the warmer weather wasn’t bad news for everyone. Winter wheat farmers are rejoicing at a 43 percent increase in the harvest, which is now complete, according to an AP report.
And I found one farmer who isn’t complaining. Warren Kittler, who helps small-scale, specialty-crop producers at Community CROPS in Lincoln, Neb., says the drought has been beneficial to some farmers who use the correct irrigation system.
“The lack of rain inhibits the spread of many fungal diseases, so our tomatoes and peppers are thriving,” he said. “In drought situations, drip irrigation can be the difference between success and failure.”
What’s your experience with the drought this summer? Harvest’s Frank Morris is traveling to Colorado and Kansas to report on this story for NPR. You can help him report the story by clicking here and giving us your insight.