PLEDGE NOW
Severe Drought Hits The U.S.

Severe drought is hammering crops in the Midwest and beyond. 1,000 counties in 26 states declared disaster areas. We’ll check in.

Steve Niedbalski is seen chopping down his drought and heat stricken corn for feed Wednesday, July 11, 2012 in Nashville, Ill. Farmers in parts of the Midwest, dealing with the worst drought in nearly 25 years, have given up hope for a corn crop and are mowing over their fields and baling the heat withered plants for livestock feed. (AP)

Steve Niedbalski is seen chopping down his drought and heat stricken corn for feed Wednesday, July 11, 2012 in Nashville, Ill. Farmers in parts of the Midwest, dealing with the worst drought in nearly 25 years, have given up hope for a corn crop and are mowing over their fields and baling the heat withered plants for livestock feed. (AP)

I’m a farm kid, born and raised.  I’ve never heard my dad brought to the brink of tears by the weather.  I did last night, on the phone to Illinois.  He’d just driven 40 miles through corn fields devastated by drought.  Mile after mile of corn fields with no corn.  Just dry, spindly, heat-blasted stalks.  Worthless.  It made him, he said, feel almost physically ill.

More than half the country is in drought now.  Worst in half a century.  It’s brought fire to the Rockies.  Parch to Texas.  Now it’s tearing into the corn belt and cattle herds.

This hour, On Point:  the great drought hits the nation’s breadbasket.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Chris Hurt, professor of agricultural economics at Purdue University.

Don Duval, farmer and  president of the White County Farm Bureau in Carmi, IL.

Mark Svoboda, climatologist, is the Monitoring Program Area Leader for the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Al Davis, owner of the O L O Ranch in Hyannis, Nebraska.

Maps

Here’s the latest map of drought conditions in the U.S. from the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska.

National Drought Mitigation Center

National Drought Mitigation Center

 

From Tom’s Reading List

Businessweek “A worst-in-a-generation drought from Indiana to Arkansas to California is damaging crops, rural economies, and threatening to drive food prices to record levels. Agriculture, though a small part of the $15.5 trillion U.S. economy, had been one of the most resilient industries in the past three years as the country struggled to recover from the recession.”

New York Times “Scattered rain fell in parts of the Midwest on Friday, but it was not enough to provide relief to farmers struggling to salvage crops scorched by worsening drought conditions and ranchers worried about feeding livestock.”

Des Moines Register “A new drought condition map showing widened coverage of the 2012 drought across the Corn Belt sent corn prices near $7 per bushel and soybeans near $15 when trading began on the Chicago Board of Trade after the holiday hiatus.”

CBS News “Fifty-five percent of the continental U.S. was in a moderate to extreme drought by the end of June, NOAA’s National Climactic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., said in its monthly State of the Climate drought report. That’s the largest percentage since December 1956, when 58 percent of the country was covered by drought.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
May 5, 2016
Detroit teachers march outside the district headquarters, Monday, May 2, 2016, in Detroit. Detroit Public Schools transition manager Steven Rhodes says 45,628 of approximately 46,000 students were forced to miss classes Monday as 1,562 teachers called in sick. The mass sick-out has forced the district to close 94 of its 97 schools. Detroit's schools are expected to be out of cash starting July 1. The state earlier gave the district $48.7 million in emergency funding to keep it open through June 30 as the Legislature considers a $720 million restructuring plan. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Fixing Michigan- from Flint’s water crisis to failing schools in Detroit. Are state takeovers the answers or the problem?

May 5, 2016
Rob Reiner with his son, Nick. [Courtesy: Paladin]

Filmmaker, actor Rob Reiner and his son, Nick, get personal in their new film “Being Charlie,” which takes on drug addiction.

RECENT
SHOWS
May 4, 2016
Leslie Stahl with her grandchild Jordan. (Courtesy: Leslie Stahl)

Trailblazing journalist Lesley Stahl on her new book Becoming Grandma, and the joys, the science, the struggles, the evolution of being a grandparent today.

 
May 4, 2016
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is joined by his wife Melania, right, and daughter Ivanka, left, as he arrives for a primary night news conference, Tuesday, May 3, 2016, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Results from the 2016 Indiana primary. Does it cement two pathways to the nominations?

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Devoured: We Are What (And How) We Eat
Tuesday, May 3, 2016

From chicken wings to kale smoothies, we look at what we eat, and how challenging it is to eat well in America.

More »
Comment
 
‘Embedded’: How Violent Gangs Are Terrorizing El Salvador
Thursday, Apr 14, 2016

NPR’s Kelly McEvers on her reporting in El Salvador for the podcast Embedded, and how gang killings brought San Salvador’s bus service to a halt.

More »
Comment
 
That Cheap Dress On Facebook? It Isn't Worth It
Monday, Apr 11, 2016

Know those shockingly cheap clothes you see advertised on Facebook? There’s a catch.

More »
Comment