Friday, April 15, 2011

Drought grows more dire in US southwest, farms hit

Carey Gillam in Reuters: Conditions for crops and livestock are growing more dire by the day in the U.S. Southwest as drought continues to grip the region. Texas is a tinderbox, pastureland for hungry cattle is drying up, and prospects are deteriorating rapidly for wheat, corn, cotton and other crops.

"Conditions are just deplorable right now. One hundred percent of the state is currently in some form of drought," Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples told Reuters. The threat to cattle and crop production comes at a time when prices for both are soaring and potentially further adds to food costs for the United States and abroad.

Data released on Thursday morning by a consortium of national climate experts said a lack of rain had caused the drought toe expand over the last week to "extreme" and even "exceptional" levels in parts of Oklahoma and Texas.

…"The Southwest is pretty bad from southeast Arizona all the way over to Louisiana," said Mark Svoboda, climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center. "Texas is particularly bad. It is not a very good situation."…

A desert in West Texas, shot by Geoemrick, who has released it into the public domain

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