Chicago-As if the heartland hasn’t faced enough this summer, with wildfires, droughts, and punishing heat, cattle ranchers are now facing a hay shortage.
The triple-digit temperatures, expected to result in the worst drought north-central Texas has ever experienced, follows spring wildfires, which scorched millions of acres that traditionally nourish the nation’s largest steer population – five million head of cattle.
Most Texas pasture and range lands – 86 percent – are currently “poor” or “very poor,” according to the US Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service. The same rating applied to 69 percent of Oklahoma and 40 percent of Kansas.
The hardships this year “don’t compare to any in recent years,” says Jason Miller, a county agriculture agent for the Texas AgriLife Extension Service (TALES). “The ranchers are just holding on.”
July temperatures have topped 110 degrees in the heart of cattle country, from Texas to Kansas. Ranchers complain that Read more…
UNDATED – The drought continues to push deeper into north Georgia while making it difficult for south Georgia farmers to plant two key crops.
A new report shows roughly 77 percent of the state’s cotton crop and 80 percent of the peanut crop have been planted.
The driest conditions in the state continue to be two pockets in southwest and southeast Georgia.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Drought Monitor says the drought has now pushed as far north as southern Habersham County, south Dawson and south Forsyth, extending westward to the Alabama line near Carrollton and LaGrange. Gainesville and all of Hall County are now considered in a drought. Conditions in all of these areas are considered “abnormally” dry.
A swath of counties just Read more…
May 16, 2011
Dear Friends and Readers of Millennium-Ark,
For the last 5 years, we have posted countless articles covering both natural disasters and their impact on our food supplies as well as on many other timely topics. After several decades of monitoring these events, it’s hard to convey how shocked we are by the sheer number of disasters that have occurred just in the first 4 months of 2011.
Yesterday, all day, I spent analyzing natural disasters and plotted them against our food belts. Never, ever, have I seen so many federally declared disasters this early in the year.
The DHS/FEMA maps were defined by 2 colors: blue signified no disasters (to distinguish the disaster-free areas from water, they are shown in white below) and yellow indicated declared disasters. Map after map, state after state were mostly yellow. Surely this must be an error? Thinking through the numerous news items on Earth Changes, with sinking feeling, I knew they were correct. It was only when the state information was transferred to a single national map, the implications become uncomfortably clear.
Notice how many disasters have occurred in food-producing areas. They are striking the heart of our food growing regions. Many food crops have been wiped out by drought, flood, hail and freezes. These food destroyers are occurring in greater frequency and having larger impact. America’s food belts are taking mighty hits. Some growing areas will not recover this entire year.
The Army Corps of Engineers blew a two-mile hole into the Birds Point levee, which has flooded 130,000 acres of farmland in Missouri’s Mississippi County, in an effort to protect nearby Cairo, Ill., from rising floodwaters.
But farmers who pleaded unsuccessfully for the Supreme Court to stop the blast, which diverted floodwaters and inundated their land, had 130,000 acres of severely damaged farmland and close to $100 million in crop losses, a farmers’ association said. About 100 homes are in the deluged area, according to Army engineers.
The purpose was to divert floodwaters from Cairo, a town of about 3,000.
The government engineers blasted the first hole into the Birds Point levee site at Sikeston, Mo., at about 10 p.m. Monday and the second one at around noon Tuesday, said Lisa Coghlan, spokeswoman for the Army engineers in Sikeston.
Flood stage for the Mississippi River in the area is normally 40 feet, but on Monday, the water was at 61.72 feet, the engineers said. By Tuesday, after the two blasts, the water was receding and had fallen to 60.12 feet, the engineers said.
“It was definitely a success,” Coghlan said. The engineers planned to stage one more blast, probably today, depending on how quickly they could move equipment through the rain-soaked area, Coghlan said.
“The ground is absolutely just mush,” she explained. “It’s been raining for two weeks and today is actually the first sunny day.” Read more…
That is about the time my parents were born 120 years ago.
I never thought it could be worse than the drought of the 1950s, but it is. Drive out into grazing country where mesquite aren’t too thick and all you can see is dry, cracked soil with an occasional fire ant or a gopher mound in the sandier soil.
Comparing the current drought with the seven-year drought in the 1950s, old-timers say the current drought sapped the soil of moisture faster than it did in the 1950s.
It just stopped raining last July, and pasture after pasture was hit by wildfires.
Right now, there is no potential to produce hay, harvest wheat or plant cotton or grain sorghum this May. Unless there is a week of rain fairly soon there is no hope for agriculture this year.
The Texas Ag Extension Service says that, despite a few recent showers in some areas, the cotton growing in Texas and Oklahoma is still in a drought. Any crop planted in southern Texas earlier in the year that got up out of the ground is now being sand blasted by hot, dry winds.
Wildfires have burned at least 1.5 million acres in the state since Jan. 1.
In addition to grazing losses, ranchers are facing rangeland stock water tanks that are dry or nearly dry. Streams are not flowing and lakes and big tanks are turning to deep mud.
It is not just the United States that is headed for an economic collapse. The truth is that the entire world is heading for a massive economic meltdown and the people of earth need to be warned about the coming economic disaster that is going to sweep the globe. The current world financial system is based on debt, and there are alarming signs that the gigantic global debt bubble is getting ready to burst. In addition, global prices for the key resources that the major economies of the planet depend on are rising very rapidly. Despite all of our advanced technology, the truth is that human civilization simply cannot function without oil and food. But now the price of oil and the price of food are both increasing dramatically. So how is the current global economy supposed to keep functioning properly if it soon costs much more to ship products between continents? How are the billions of people that are just barely surviving today supposed to feed themselves if the price of food goes up another 30 or 40 percent? For decades, most of the major economies around the globe have been able to Read more…