Farmers call for support during drought

The Canadian National Farmers Union is calling on consumers and the provincial agriculture ministry to support family farmers as they cope with drought conditions.

St. Marys, Ontario area farmer Ann Slater says farmers across much of the province are facing a severe shortage of pasture and forages to feed livestock for the rest of the summer and to store for winter feed.

In addition, vegetable, potato, fruit and grain growers are watching their harvests decline or disappear as crops dry up or do not pollinate properly.

Meanwhile, a new report says the drought gripping the United States is the widest since 1956, and the effect on the nation’s corn and soybean crops is alarming.

55% of the continental U.S. faces a moderate to extreme drought, according to the monthly State of the Climate drought report released Monday by the National Climactic Data Center.

That’s the most since December 1956, when 58 per cent of the country was covered by drought.

This year, 80% of the U.S. is abnormally dry.

The nation’s corn and soybean belt has been especially hard hit. The report says crops, pastures and rangeland have deteriorated at an alarming rate.

The USDA says deteriorating crop conditions will have a significant impact on American livestock and poultry producers. The department’s latest quarterly report says rapidly deteriorating crop and pasture conditions have driven corn prices higher – and cattle prices lower.