This year’s drought is beginning to take a toll on building’s foundations. Heather Bain’s home in Moberly has been affected by the drought. Her home is in need of foundation repairs. After the lack of rain the clay is shrinking leaving her dry wall cracking, her doors sticking and the trim no longer meets the floor.
Heavy rains from Hurricane Isaac provided relief to some – but not all – farmers and ranchers in the drought-stricken Midwest, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor’s weekly report, which came out on Thursday.
Currently, the USDA expects the prices of beef, pork, poultry and dairy to shoot up five percent next year. You can blame the drought for a lot of that increase as this summer a lot of small livestock producers are struggling just to stay in business.
A version of this story ran on KBIA's Business Beat, a weekly program about business and economics in mid-Missouri.
If you've been out of town for a little while, then you this might be news: this rain we've been getting is a rare, rare, thing. Yes, the drought has been on our minds--and the radio--all summer long and a little rain this week doesn't change the fact that it's been devastating to farmers and the economy
If you've been out of town for a little while, then you this might be news: this rain we've been getting is a rare, rare, thing. Yes, the drought has been on our minds--and our radio--all summer long and a little rain this week doesn't change the fact that it's been devastating to farmers and the economy.
Brandt Dairy sits on Swan Creek at the end of a meandering gravel road in Linn, Missouri. The farm is bucolic with its twin silos, red barn and black-and-white Holstein cows. But the brown pastures, dry river bed and burnt corn fields are a reminder that there have been less than two inches of rain here in the last two months.
Roy Pralle is an 85-year-old retired farmer from Latimer, Iowa. He spends most afternoons playing cribbage with other retired farmers at Dudley's Corner, a diner attached to a gas station in north-central Iowa.
The recent break from Missouri's oppressive summer heat has done little to help crops and pastures.
In its weekly update, the Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that supplies of topsoil and subsoil moisture were just 1 percent adequate — with the 1 percent due to irrigation in southeastern Missouri.
Ninety-eight percent of pastures throughout Missouri were ranked in poor to very condition, and livestock producers are still coping with massive shortages of stock water.
When it's hot and humid, you probably don't want to move much and aren't very hungry. The same goes for cows; but when they don't eat, farmers lose money.
Researchers at the University of Missouri think they can help avoid those losses. They've produced a new mobile app that can detect the threat of heat stress in cows using nothing more than a smartphone.
It's August now and the Farm Bill will expire September 30th. Without a stable, federal policy on US agriculture, farmers are going to have a difficult time planning for the future. Our colleagues at Harvest Public Media are bringing us daily updates on the political wrangling that may or may not bring us the new legislation farmers need. We'll bring you these daily updates as we get them.
Facing the prospect of heading back to angry drought-ravaged farmers and ranchers during Congress’ August Recess, House Republicans stopped work on contentious farm bill legislation and started pushing a drought assistance bill.
According to the USDA's crops progress report, which was released on Monday, in Missouri, 83 percent of the corn acreage and 72 percent of soybeans are in very poor or poor condition. Both figures are the worst for any major agricultural state. Optimism for a good corn yield is dwindling, but Southeast Missouri State University’s Michael Aide says there is still hope for soybeans.
As cattle were auctioned off at the Joplin Regional Stockyards, Governor Nixon met over coffee Monday at the stockyard’s café with local ranchers and farmers. He listened to their stories about how the emergency water cost-share program has helped them and gave them an update on the program.
Junior Roberts’ cows near Billmore, Missouri, are lucky. The grass they’re grazing on just tested negative for high levels of nitrate. But Roberts says he’s not through testing his 1,400 acres, and he knows that many farmers are selling off their herds rather than pay for alternative foods for their cattle.
“You’d be better off to sell them then to turn them in on a field where they’re gonna lay down and die,” he says. “It’s a problem if that’s all they’ve got left to eat and it’s poison. It ain’t gonna do them no good. You’re gonna lose them plum completely.”
Drought has set in early and hard across the Midwest, parching the Arkansas River basin. The river trickling out of the mountains is dry before it reaches some of the major agricultural uses downstream. And the drought is torching crops, sapping tourism and threatening supplies of drinking water.