“Lord, Almighty it is hot’’. That is the one message I hear loud and clear every morning when I arrive at my favorite breakfast place in Chestertown. That refrain has been around for quite a long time and is expected to be prevalent for some time yet.
With a significant portion of the production agriculture in the nation being affected by this horrendous drought currently being experienced, it will be a long roe to hoe for most farmers and livestock growers.
According to the Maryland Department of Agriculture, seven of the Eastern Shore counties are reporting at least 30 percent or more of crop losses. Only Worcester and Caroline Counties were not included. It is estimated that farmers in 13 counties have lost 30 to 54 percent of their crop.
Nationwide, the USDA’s World Agricultural Supply and Demand Report estimates that the corn yields will be the lowest since 1955. The forecasted U.S. corn yield is reduced 22.6 bushels per acre to 123.4 bushels, as extreme heat and dryness worsened in July in the Plains and Corn Belt. The extreme heat has had the most serious impact on grain crops and feed for livestock.
Foreign corn production is mostly unchanged with increases for China, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. Global corn consumption is projected at 38.9 million tons lower, with the United States accounting for more than three-fourths of the reduction.
With a shaky economy in the nation, the decline in exports due to lack of supply caused by the drought will certainly affect our economy.
Yet, with these figures issued by the USDA, the Congress will not pass a farm bill this year, and although farmers can expect some crop assistance, the nation does not have a clear vision of farm policy for the next five years, due to the lack of action by the Congress.
Lordie, it is still hot out there and the damage has been done.