Wheat crop at risk from worsening US drought

The big media outlets haven't picked this up yet, but one of my favorite climate folks Eric Holthaus raised the alarm yesterday: a serious drought in the heart of America's wheat basket (North Dakota and Montana) is rapidly getting worse. Last week the area of "extreme drought" conditions in North Dakota jumped from 7.7% to 25.1% of the state, and continued dry weather compounded by extreme heat is in the forecast (highs in the Dakotas forecast up to 107!).

Fairly large expansion of the upper midwest drought in today’s monitor.
Continued hot + dry for next 6-10 days. pic.twitter.com/zrxCioYd0q
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) June 29, 2017

As Eric notes, North Dakota and Montana are now the biggest US wheat producers. Used to be Kansas and Nebraska, but the earth's warming has pushed prime wheat farming territory 100s of miles northward. 

The drought is bad news for these farmers, to be sure. And commodity markets, which will drive food available and pricing, are concerned.

In response, the price of wheat—the most important grain food source for humans—has gone up about 10% in the past few weeks. pic.twitter.com/ZQnAxdRbqI
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) June 29, 2017

Just something to keep an eye on for now. But a lot of countries around the world are counting on North Dakota wheat that may never arrive.
— Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) June 29, 2017

If this drought continues, what will it mean for food prices and food security in the US and around the world? How about for the farmers? Do you have a personal story or perspective to share on this important topic? 



Curt Newton's picture

Drought conditions continue

Drought conditions continue to spread and worsen in this important agricultural region.
This blog post from Union of Concerned Scientist fellow Andrea Basche offers important context and perspective: "Northern Plains Drought Shows (Again) that Failing to Plan for Disasters = Planning to Fail" http://blog.ucsusa.org/andrea-basche/northern-plains-drought-shows-again-that-failing-to-plan-for-disasters-planning-to-fail