Shaila Dewan reported in today’s New York Times that, “In August, [John Hart, a farmer in the hills just east of the Mississippi Delta, and other Southern farmers] thought they had a bumper crop — the best they had seen in years. It was the kind of crop that could put you ahead, for once. Pay off that combine.
“But just as the harvest began in September, it began to rain, and it kept raining through October, normally one of the driest months here. The soybeans shriveled and blackened with mold. The rice keeled over into the mud. The cotton hardened into tight little spitballs. The sweet potatoes rotted underground. When the combines could get into the fields, they scarred them with deep ruts that will make next year’s planting more expensive.
“Last year, with commodity prices running at record highs, farming across the nation seemed to be bucking the recession. This year, with the rest of the country in a slow recovery from a man-made disaster, nature forced a crash of its own in the South.
“‘I was counting my money until September,’ Mr. Hart said. ‘I don’t know whether I’m going to be able to farm another year or not.’”