This week the US Department of Agriculture is reporting that 55 percent of US pasture and rangeland is in poor to very poor condition. 1369 counties across 31 states have been declared federal drought disaster areas, making farmers in these areas eligible for emergency loans. 61% of the United States and Puerto Rico is now in moderate drought or worse, 38% is in severe drought or worse, 17% is extreme drought or worse, and 2% percent is in exceptional drought. The forecast for most of the drought-affected area is for drought to continue to develop and intensify.
The result is that available food supplies are likely to decline somewhat, import of food will increase, poor people in developing countries and in Canada will go even more hungry or eat an even less nutritious diet, and food prices, even in Canada where the drought is likely just as serious as in the US, will increase.
It is fair to respond that the weather is outside of direct human control, even if human-induced climate change is a contributor to rising global temperatures and redistribution of rainfall patterns. At the same time, it is important to note that global food stocks cannot take too much of this level of drought without causing major harm to human health and economies.
The next issue of Gallon Environment Letter will be reviewing issues of local food production. To subscribe send an email with subscribe in the subject line to email@example.com Private individuals will receive the Honoured Reader (no cost edition) automatically and you can upgrade to the subscription edition from there if you wish. Business emails will receive subscription information by email.
US drought information is available at http://drought.unl.edu/