Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Severe Drought Conditions In Great Plains May Lead To Higher Food Prices

There has been an ongoing drought in the Great Plains states, including Oklahoma and Texas, and there are no indications that the situation will improve anytime soon.
Mike Spradling, the president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau, said many wheat farmers have considered just plowing under their fields and switching to another crop.

Associate state climatologist Gary McManus said conditions have actually gotten worse since crops began emerging. The plants have rapidly sucked up the limited moisture in the soil.

"Some places have already lost their wheat crop farther south and in the Panhandle," he said. "In the driest parts of the state, the rainfall they have gotten, it's not enough to make them rest easy with their crops. It's just a bad situation."

Paul Fruendt said he's been farming for 25 years and he's never seen such bad growing conditions. His farm in Guthrie in central Oklahoma got a little rain, but he said his crops will still probably run out of water within a few weeks.
Higher wheat prices will translate into higher prices for grains, breads, and other foodstuffs. That, along with higher energy costs, are going to drive up inflation and the cost of living.

The drought conditions also mean that the threat of wildfires increases significantly, and unless the region sees a prolonged period of above-normal rainfall, the drought will persist.

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