The worst U.S. drought in more than 50 years has caused alarms around the world as corn and soybean crops are threatened and could impact the world's food supply, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
After a record-setting hot July, August has been mild by comparison. The Chicago Tribune reported that although Illinois still is in a drought, only 8 percent of the state remains in an "exceptional drought."
However, even with improving conditions in August, the U.S. corn crop is supposed to be down 13 percent and the soybean crop down 12 percent, The Washington Post reported.
The drought and extreme conditions in July have raised several issues.
For example, the U.S. mandates the use of corn-based ethanol to reduce U.S. reliance of foreign oil. As much as 40 percent of the corn crop will go toward the production of ethanol, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
The U.S. is mandated to use 13.2 billion gallons of ethonal this year and 13.6 billion next year. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said waiving the requirement would have little impact on food prices and harm investment in biofuel, the Washington Post reported.
Another issue being raised is whether the drought is a problem caused by climate change. The Chicago Tribune reported that droughts such as the one this year could drisrupt food supplies and lead to price spikes.
Also, the federal government is planning an emergency purchase of $170 million in pork, lamb, chicken and catfish, the Christian Science Monitor reported. The money will come from an emergency fund and is designed to help livestock farmers.