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Droughts are not uncommon in the history of the U.S., however, what the western half of the country has been experiencing right now is extremely worrying. Recent reports have been warning that a “megadrought” is fast spreading in the southwestern region and is it leading to the worst crop failures in decades. States like North Dakota are seeing the most devastating drought disaster in over 126 years. Farmers are having to abandon their entire pastures since the soil is lacking sufficient moisture to sustain normal crop development growth. Summer-like temperatures, turbulent winds, and low humidity across the state accelerated drying conditions, and at least half the state is now experiencing “severe drought”.
Most people from other regions may not realize how this would affect them, but the truth is that what is going on in the Upper Midwest, the Northern Plains states, and the Prairie provinces of Canada will have a great impact on everyone’s lives as much of the food we eat comes from that region. According to MordernFarmer, it is the most important agricultural area for spring wheat, the higher-gluten variety that’s used for pasta or mixed with other wheat for all-purpose flour. Consequently, food prices – which have already exploded in recent weeks – are likely to climb even higher due to widespread shortages.
In California, one of the most important agricultural states, traders are saying that due to the extreme dry temperatures, the futures prices of both spring wheat and canola are at their highest in years. And if it doesn’t rain soon, things are bound to get much worse over the next few months. A Texan farmer named Blake Fennell said in an interview that “if we don’t get any significant rainfall within the next two, three, or four weeks, it’s going to have a very significant impact on the cotton crop in West Texas. Abandonment looks like it’s going to be pretty high this year, just for the simple fact that there is no ground moisture to get this crop emerged,” he added.
At this point, the entire state of Texas is experiencing some level of drought, and on the border of Oregon and California, water levels are so low farmers won’t get enough to meet their needs. Many of them will have to shut down their operations and lay-offs their employees, as there will be no way to save their crops. In many locations, water allocation was reduced up to 95 percent. According to the Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO, Ryan Jacobsen, the lack of wet weather means the garlic, tomatoes, onions, melons, and rice crops will have to be reduced.
As a result, food production in 2021 will sharply fall due to such epic crop failures. Meanwhile, water shortages are also a possibility, considering that some key reservoirs are registering the lowest water levels ever, which could trigger widespread water cutbacks. To call this a disaster is a huge understatement. This crisis will aggravate a serious of other problems in the U.S. food supply chain. Farmers, ranchers, and local authorities are already starting to panic. And as this megadrought continues to get worse, life is about to dramatically change all over the nation, and that is going to deeply affect all of us.
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