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Poll: What Should Be Done About U.S. Drought?

Corn and soybean crops are being hit hard by the worst U.S. drought in 50 years.

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.

RSG August 19, 2012 at 02:15 PM
The poll didn't record my second and third votes. We should do everything to help the farmers through the drought and that includes signing the farm bill that the Republicans didn't sign before they left for recess. All the wars we have to fund is killing our economy, not the mandate, social security, or medicare. The legacy costs for all the wounded soldiers, the continued fighting in areas of the world where we shouldn't be are destroying the future of the country.
Katie Gudgel August 19, 2012 at 02:26 PM
There does seem to be a problem the voting system as it didn't record my 2nd and 3rd votes either.
Rob August 19, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Didn't record mine either. I am not in favor of MORE subsidies, what business hasn't seem a 12-13% drop? Farming is a business and as business people they should be prepared for good years and bad.. Most farms have been in operation for several generations, why does the government have to give aid? If they don't invest, take care of their soil and equipment, watch and understand the market, then they aren't very good business people, and just like any other business, it should be sold to someone that can make it work. It's not like there isn't supply and demand. The advancement or equipment and chemicals over the last decade have been astronomical, these guys should be making money hand over fist. The smart ones are. A sold product in this industry for many years, the guys that are educated and run the farm as business are doing very well for themselves, good and bad years.
Rob August 19, 2012 at 02:52 PM
Just what exactly can the US do to change the climate? Lol Last I checked we aren't the only population on earth nor are we the biggest polluters. Weather like everything else is cyclical, read your history books. I am not saying regulation isn't good...so get all crazy people. Of course we need regulation of industry and punishment for poluters, duh. But just how does one suggest we "contol the climate" and is that really something you want us "US" or any other country doing? Talk about a reason for WW3.
Rob August 19, 2012 at 02:53 PM
Should be interesting to see what people want, ethanol or corn on the cob.
Local August 19, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Government subsidies DO NOT WORK and only encourage dependence on BIG GOV to survive.
McCloud August 19, 2012 at 03:06 PM
Subsidies have consequences, higher prices, lower exports, world starvation. Why not let the market decide instead of some Joe Biden Washington type. Right now there are probably 25 green companies filed bankrupcy after Obama funded them with you kid's grankid's money.
Jose August 19, 2012 at 03:08 PM
PLENTY OF WATER THAT GO ON WASTE IN MANY STATES THAT COULD BE PIPE TO AREAS THAT NEED THE WATER IN BAD DRY CONDITIONS. LOOK AT THE AMOUNT OF WATER THAT GOES ON WASTE IN MINNESOTA --THE GREAT LAKES. SOME OF THE LAKES WATER COULD BE PIPE TO AREAS THAT DON'T HAVE MUCH WATER... I SEE NO REASONS WHY FARMERS DO NOT BUILD THEIR OWN WATER WELLS, I WOULD IF I HAD A FARM INSTEAD OF DEPENDING ON OTHER PEOPLE FOR WATER. WHAT CAN THE U.S. DO TO CHANGE THE CLIMATE ?? GO 100 % ELECTRIC-- BUILD MORE ??I DON'T KNOW WHAT IS CALL, BUT KENOSHA HAVE THEM IN THE DOWN TOWN AREA. THEY GO AROUND ALL DAY. ELECTRIC TRAIN ? EVERY TOWN SHOULD HAVE THOSE SO PEOPLE CAN AVOID DRIVING.
Jose August 19, 2012 at 03:22 PM
LOCAL, THAT IS TRUE.
Pat Craig August 19, 2012 at 04:43 PM
Poll does not record answers to questions 2 or 3. Government mandates ALWAYS have "unintended" consequences. How about governments AT ALL LEVELS just leave folks alone and let them live their lives unmolested?
DeAnn Glover August 19, 2012 at 05:21 PM
Does anyone remember the 1930's? The drought during that time if caused by"climate change" not caused by man's bad practices. It was just a drought. These weather patterns are cyclicl
DeAnn Glover August 19, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Sorry. Cyclical. As to bailing out the farmers and ranchers; many have been receiving subsidies for years. I remember many, many years ago, my grandfather was paid by the federal government not to plant corn because the price of corn was so low. He left the fields go to grass and ran cattle on them foe a few years. The White House needs to get off the ethynol kickand let what little corn there is go for food. The government doesn't subsudize any other small business that has problems so I am not sure it to do anything here. I am sure my family members who farm and ranch would be upset with me if they read this.
Doug Daluga August 19, 2012 at 08:24 PM
Does that hold true for oil companies also? Subsidized or not, companies file for bankruptcy every day. Every tax deduction that everyone takes is a subsidy, whether it's for mortgage interest or for simply having a child.
RSG August 19, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Sorry I mistated saying Republicans. Here is the situation on the 2012 Farm Bill that needs to be signed because the current law (the 2008 farm bill) expires September 30. The Senate Agriculture Committee and the full Senate have both passed the legislation with a strong bipartisan vote. The House Agriculture Committee passed a different version of the 2012 farm bill, but it has not been debated or considered by the entire House of Representatives. Floor time has also not been scheduled. What still needs to happen? First, the full House of Representatives will need to vote on and pass the legislation as quickly as possible when they return from August recess. Afterwards, House and Senate conferees will work out the differences between the two bills and reach a suitable compromise. The final bill, or conference report, would then need to be voted on and passed by both chambers of Congress. President Obama would then either sign the bill into law or veto it, sending it back to Congress. Lots to do in a short amount of time. On another point that people consider is how little of the cost of a product goes back to the people in agriculture. The USDA 's Economic Research Service reports out of a dollar only 10.1 cents goes back to the growers. Also, in terms of ethanol just think how much our gasoline price would go up in Illinois if we didn't have the mandate.
Willie Wilmette August 19, 2012 at 10:11 PM
Wrong kind of corn, we are not talking about sweet corn.. Ethanol or corn muffins.
Willie Wilmette August 19, 2012 at 10:14 PM
McCloud, you make it sound like a bad thing! World starvation means fewer people & therefore less CO2.
Willie Wilmette August 19, 2012 at 10:21 PM
You have to love the second question. What if you believe in global warming but believe the scientists are right and that this drought caused by the jet-stream and is mostly unrelated to global warming.
Jim August 19, 2012 at 10:24 PM
If it doesn't rain enough, save the farmers. If it rains too much, save the farmers. if you are constipated, provide laxaatives. If you have diarrhea, provide a drug to stop it. If you don't have a house, give a no-doc low interest mortgage, if you don't have health insurance, provide low cost low quality care. Food stamps for no food. If you are a business and are too stupid to run it responsibly and with foresight, bail it out. If you are a bank and you are too dumb to avoid bad investments, bail it out. Etc, etc, etc.
Guido McGinty August 19, 2012 at 11:17 PM
"Also, in terms of ethanol just think how much our gasoline price would go up in Illinois if we didn't have the mandate." Why would it go up at all?
Guido McGinty August 19, 2012 at 11:20 PM
More legislation is always required to fix the unintended* consequences of previous legislation. The statists have found a recipe for perpetual motion. *Of course consequences that are easily predictable cannot be unintended by definition. Be skeptical of anyone spouting off about unintended consequences.
forest barbieri August 19, 2012 at 11:36 PM
Here is a solution: the drought has been a known fact for the summer. Depending when you saw that as a money making event would depend on how you might have benefited financially to more than offsett any price increases
RSG August 20, 2012 at 12:36 AM
U.S. ethanol production actually cut wholesale gas prices by $1.09 a gallon last year because of relatively lower ethanol prices and the greater use of ethanol blends. Ethanol also allows us to become more energy independent of the middle east.
RB August 20, 2012 at 01:31 AM
Farmers and ranchers are a huge Republican voting block for the most part. The NRA also has them as a huge arm of support. Farmers already buy subsidized crop insurance, if they did invest in the insurance, unfortunately they should take the loss. Crop insurance is a huge loss for the Government. No more subsidy that that should be given. Don't even get me started on Sugar Cane subsidy and price support.
RSG August 20, 2012 at 02:37 AM
For those complaining about the cheapest and most dependable food in the world I would point out that crop insurance allows marginal crop ground to be planted and smaller farmers to survive weather destroying events. Now you may not be aware that farmers have increased the number of bushels of corn from 50 to over 150/acre in the last 50 years but that's why food is dependable and cheap. You think the tax payers will benefit from cutting subsidies then you have less acres planted and only big corporation able to absorb the risk. Either way food will be more expensive and subject to boom and bust even more than today. For those who complain about the renewable fuel standard they ignore the fact that for every bushel of corn made into ethanol there is a by product called distiller's grain that is the protein fed to livestock. Ethanol saves American's a lot of money at the pump. Why not realize that the success of the American farmer has the same multiplier effect in a community as any thriving industry. The livestock and oil industry is responsible for always criticizing the farmer yet farmers are the most hard working decent people this country supports. Start supporting them yourself they are americans not middle east countries trying to hurt us.
Molly August 20, 2012 at 02:38 AM
Unfortunately there are loopholes in any subsidy program that people will take advantage of. Once farm land is lost the odds of it returning to a working farm is slim. The US has lost many small farms to development and to large "family" read corporation farms.
RationalTht August 20, 2012 at 03:12 AM
@RB - no idea where you get your "facts" - most of the WI farmers I know are hard-core democrats.
Pat Craig August 20, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Here's a thought. It is a scientific fact that droughts only occur in summer. Justg have the government pass a law against the temperature going above 72 degrees and another mandating at least .25" of rain per week. Look how well that thinking works regarding guns in Chicago.
Guido McGinty August 20, 2012 at 03:42 PM
"U.S. ethanol production actually cut wholesale gas prices by $1.09 a gallon last year" I spy a fake number. Half accounting borders on fraud. http://junkscience.com/2012/05/17/marlo-lewis-ethanol-reduced-gas-prices-by-1-09g-or-didnt-you-notice/
Raymond Prusak August 20, 2012 at 08:57 PM
Romney and his Fellow believers need to pray for rain with a little bit more urgency rather than posthumously baptizing the dead. After all man!, priorities are priorities. Next, we can pray for an end to secular humanism. God is probably in need of attention as is any type a male. "One louder", on the volume as they did in Spinal Tap.

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