Nelson sees drought damage for himself
By Robert Pore, The Independent
Dvorak, who grows corn, soybeans, alfalfa and wheat, said when describing the drought situation at his farm, "We need rain really bad."
That's no exaggerations. The National Weather Service in
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture,
While the crop isn't in the bin yet, Dvorak said he hopes for only a 25 percent to 30 percent yield reduction on his irrigated corn, but his dryland corn is nearly a complete loss.
"Right now, we are all in this together," Dvorak said. "I really feel for the young farmers and the struggle they are going to have because, at my age at 64, it is pretty obvious I am going to make it and I am going to be all right because I'm lucky enough to have my equipment all paid for and those kinds of things."
But, Dvorak said, "it's the young farmers, who are really in it. They have commitments to make that are even more than mine. The point we need to get across is that we have to think about these young farmers today and their ability to make their livelihood."
While crop insurance will help farmers to some extent, the cost of farming is getting more and more expensive each and every year.
The USDA recently reported that farm and ranch production expenditures for
Also, the USDA reported that cropland values in
In touring his alfalfa field, Dvorak told Nelson that he had two cuttings of alfalfa, but the current condition of the field "never recovered at all.
"There are little batches of hay that recovered, as you see. We are going to go ahead and harvest this for whatever we can get, but it will be so minimum that I'll cut this whole field and only get two bales of hay from it," Dvorak said. "But what are you to do? You have to be creative. That is what our forage looks like. It is really desperate."
In a normal year, Dvorak's third cutting of alfalfa would be "knee high" by this time, compared to the spotty patches of hay growing in the fields now, he said.
"Normally, we get four cuttings, but this year I have gotten one and a half so far," he told Nelson.
The same is true in the area pastures around the Dvoraks' farm, which are dark brown from the lack of grass growth. March's warm weather brought grass out of dormancy, and it grew well until the available subsoil moisture was gone and was not supplemented by normal spring rains.
Steinkruger said that brings the total number of
Nelson was briefed on Wednesday at the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) in
Also, on Wednesday, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the average temperature for the contiguous
The previous warmest July for the nation was in 1936, when the average
Much of Howard, Custer,
"We're not out of the woods yet," Nelson said. "The NDMC forecasts that this drought will probably last for months” maybe through October. But there's a silver lining here. If we've got a good idea of what we're in for, we can plan accordingly, and this means pushing the House to pass the Farm Bill.
In June, the U.S. Senate passed a five-year Farm Bill “the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 " with bipartisan support. This legislation includes comprehensive, long-term programs to help farmers, ranchers and agricultural communities prepare for, withstand and recover from drought and other natural disasters. The House has not voted on the legislation.
"Nebraska ag producers are getting hit hard by this drought," Nelson said. "They deserve the certainty and benefits of a full five-year Farm Bill."
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