Record high temperatures and a lack of rainfall are creating the worst drought conditions for U.S. farmers in a generation. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared more than 1000 counties in 26 states natural disaster areas as crops there deteriorate.
In this year’s record setting heat under the hot summer sun, McLean County, Illinois, farmer Matt Hughes’ crops are wilting.
Each day without rain clouds brings new disappointment and worry for Hughes.
“The crop I planted right now — I have more invested in this crop than any other crop in my life,” said Hughes.
Hughes says that’s because with commodity prices at all-time highs, so is the cost of seed and fertilizer.
Now, he’s watching his potential profits evaporate.
“This is the one year that can make or break a lot of farmers,” added Hughes.
Farmers in Illinois, one of the top corn and soybean producing states in the country, are facing the worst drought conditions in decades.
Part of the corn crop in southern Illinois is already beyond salvage, and the problem is spreading, says the Illinois Farm Bureau president, Philip Nelson.
June was one of the driest months on record in many parts of the country, depriving corn stalks of much needed water during pollination.