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While the area covered by the overall drought grew only slightly, the intensity increased alarmingly. Nationally, the percentage of the country in "extreme" to "exceptional" drought – the two worst categories on the scale – jumped from 13.53% to 20.57%.
The overall percentage of the country in drought grew for the tenth week in a row, inching up from 63.54% to 63.86%.
On July 25, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack designated 76 additional counties in six states as drought disaster areas, bringing the total for the 2012 crop year to 1,369 counties in 31 states.
The latest crop progress report makes for grim reading.
Nearly half of the nation’s corn fields are now rated in poor to very poor condition. Corn: 45 percent in poor to very poor condition The report showed that 86 percent of corn has now silked, which is well above last year’s report of 56 percent. Twenty-two percent of corn is now in the dough stage and 6 percent of corn has dented, compared to the five-year average of 9 and 2 percent.
Soybeans: Setting pods but baking For soybeans, the news is just as grim. Though 36 percent of the soybeans have already set pods, compared to 16 percent last week, conditions continue to decline. This week soybeans fell by 3 percentage points, with 35 percent of soybeans in poor to very poor condition.
Originally posted by mytheroy
I've read so far we have lost 78 billion dollars in crops so far and summer is not done yet......
Hard times ahead
The farm bill, which defines the core agricultural policy of the federal government and is up for renewal on 30 September, has been stalled in the House of Representatives, an unprecedented move that is indicative of the political stalemate currently obstructing traditionally routine pieces of legislation from passage. If the bill is not renewed or extended by the deadline, many subsidy and assistance programmes would automatically lose funding.
Although the world was hoping for a good US harvest to replenish dangerously low grain stocks, this is no longer on the cards. World carryover stocks of grain will fall further at the end of this crop year, making the food situation even more precarious. Food prices, already elevated, will follow the price of corn upward, quite possibly to record highs.
Not only is the current food situation deteriorating, but so is the global food system itself. We saw early signs of the unraveling in 2008 following an abrupt doubling of world grain prices. As world food prices climbed, exporting countries began restricting grain exports to keep their domestic food prices down. In response, governments of importing countries panicked. Some of them turned to buying or leasing land in other countries on which to produce food for themselves.
The world is in serious trouble on the food front. But there is little evidence that political leaders have yet grasped the magnitude of what is happening. The progress in reducing hunger in recent decades has been reversed. Unless we move quickly to adopt new population, energy, and water policies, the goal of eradicating hunger will remain just that. Time is running out. The world may be much closer to an unmanageable food shortage – replete with soaring food prices, spreading food unrest, and ultimately political instability– than most people realise.
Welcome to the new geopolitics of food scarcity. As food supplies tighten, we are moving into a new food era, one in which it is every country for itself.
Originally posted by murch
Separatism, suspicion and eventually civil unrest and war. The disaster we all try to predict is already here, staring us in the face.