January 29, 2020

Isaac Brings Some Drought Relief to Parched Midwest

Michael Muskal reported in today’s Los Angeles Times that, “The soggy breakup of Hurricane Isaac brought some relief to parts of the drought-plagued Midwest, but other agricultural areas continue to bear the pain of a worsening climate.

“The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map released Thursday showed that the hardest-hit drought areas of the continental United States decreased slightly to 21.45%, down by 1.7 percentage points. Parts of Missouri, Illinois and Indiana got some relief because of rain associated with Isaac, a slow-moving storm that hit the Louisiana coast on Aug. 28 as a Category 1 hurricane and wended its wet way across parts of the South and Midwest.

“The rain came after many crops had already been harvested, but it may yet manage to improve the soybean yield. However, the rain bypassed the key corn-producing states of Nebraska and Iowa, both hard hit by drought conditions that have brought some increases in consumer prices.

In addition to the graphic above (click on graphic for full view), today’s LA Times article included this photo by David Mercer of corn ready for harvest- in a field just south of Champaign, Ill.

Today’s article added that, “Nebraska reported that 71% of the state was in the higher drought classifications. In Iowa, the area in exceptional or extreme drought rose to 62%, up four percentage points.”


Farm Bill; Ag Economy; Trade; Biofuels; and, Budget Issues

Farm Bill

The “Washington Insider” section of DTN reported yesterday (link requires subscription) that, “As Congress returned, sort of, this week, Senator Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said what has been obvious to many for some time and that is that there is not time now to fix the current farm bill that expires at the end of September. This is because the House has only eight legislative days to consider a bill that the leadership finds too toxic to bring to the floor.

“As a result, Grassley thinks Congress likely will include a one-year extension of the farm programs in the continuing resolution that lawmakers must consider later this month, since it couldn’t agree on a budget either. ‘I would hope that we would get a five-year farm bill passed so farmers would have the long-term view, but I would imagine at this late stage and with farm legislation sun-setting Sept. 30 that it is most likely we’ll have a one-year extension,’ he said.

“At the same time, Grassley disagreed with the major farm groups who think the failure to agree on a new bill now is a severe problem.”