July 16, Reuters – (Nebraska) Nebraska farms ordered to halt irrigation amid drought.
More than 1,100 farmers in Nebraska were ordered by the State’s Department of Natural Resources to halt irrigation of their crops because the rivers from which they draw water have dropped due to a worsening drought, Reuters reported July 16. The orders come as the central United States is enduring the worst drought in half a century. As of July 13, orders had been sent to 1,106 farmers in the country’s number three corn-producing State and fourth-largest soybean State, the department confirmed July 16. The orders affected only irrigation systems that draw from surface water, mostly rivers and creeks, and not systems that draw from wells, a department spokesman said. Since more than 90 percent of Nebraska’s irrigation systems draw from wells and not surface water, the impact on the State’s overall crop yield would not be as severe. Many of the affected farms also increased irrigation in recent days in anticipation of the shutdown order.
July 16, Washington Post – (National) Drought in U.S. reaching levels not seen in 50 years, pushing up crop prices.
A drought gripping the Corn Belt and more than half of the United States has reached proportions not seen in more than 50 years, the government reported July 16, increasing crop prices and threatening to drive up the cost of food. The week of July 9, the Agriculture Department declared more than 1,000 counties in 26 States as natural-disaster areas. About 55 percent of the continental United States is now designated as in moderate drought or worse, the largest percentage since December 1956, said the National Climatic Data Center. “The drought could get a lot worse before it gets better,” said the chief economist at the Agriculture Department. The Agriculture Department July 16 said 38 percent of the U.S. corn crop was in poor or very poor condition, up from 30 percent from the previous week.