The Drought of 2012 Plagues Farmers, Crops | NECN

The Drought of 2012 Plagues Farmers, Crops



    Some of the most severe conditions felt in Midwest, impact will trickle down to consumers (Published Friday, Jan. 17, 2014)

    (NECN/NBC News: Jay Gray, Polk County, Mo.) - High temperatures and a lack of rain continue to plague much of the country. 

    Some of the most severe drought conditions are being felt through the Midwest - including Missouri, where conditions are threatening city water supplies and family farms that have been around for decades.  

    At its core, farming can be a hard, demanding life. But for many in Missouri and across the Midwest, it's never been as difficult as this year.
    "This year with the intense heat we've had and the lack of rain... we've had two measurable rains since April 30th here at our dairy," Farmer David Franscka said.  

    The scene is filled with burned out fields, cracked and broken earth - while in town, restrictions are in place because city wells are running low on water.  

    "The drought has been excessive in this region for several weeks, and it's not just that we've have the 100 degree plus temperatures... but they started so early, said Darin Chappell, Bolivar, Mo. Administrator.  

    All 114 counties in Missouri have been declared disaster areas - 93-percent of the state is suffering through extreme drought conditions. 

    It's the worst the Franscka family has seen in more than 50 years of dairy farming. Their ponds are dried-up.. Their pastures haven't produced any hay or a place to graze.

    So they have to pay for feed.  

    "We've spent in excess of $150-thousand the last three months just on the added costs that normally.. If you have normal grain prices and normal commodity prices and you don't have to buy all this hay, you know that's money that would be sitting in the bank," Franscka said.  

    Those costs will be passed on to consumers.  

    "This is just the beginning of something that's not going to be good for everybody, because you're going to start feeling this in a couple of months at the grocery stores," Franscka said.  

    …Until some substantial rain comes down.