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Nation in Drought, Miss. Farmers Could Reap Rewards

By Daniel Cherry | Published 17 Jul 2012 05:43pm | comments
The worst drought the U.S. has seen in half a century is devastating crops across the nation. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how that could set Mississippi farmers up for a very profitable year.
 
Many parts of Mississippi have seen plenty of rain lately. After an abnormally dry June, those who rely on growing crops for a living, like Brenda Langham, who sells produce at a farmers market in Jackson, see it as a blessing.
 
"We really enjoyed that rain. We irrigate, but there's nothing like God's water. It just helps the crops a lot more."
 
The National Climactic Data Center based in North Carolina announced 55% of the nation was in moderate to severe drought conditions at the end of June. Dry conditions, especially in the mid-west, are hurting the nation's largest corn and soybean crops. Andy Prosser with the Mississippi Department of Agriculture says that could end up creating very favorable markets for Mississippi farmers.
 
"We never want to count our chickens before they're hatched. There's still a lot to go this year in terms of the crops that we have in the ground before we get to harvest, but, of course, we don't want to cheer at others' misfortune, by any means, but we've been very lucky so far. We hope our year continues the way it's going so far this year and we hope the weather cooperates throughout the end of the year."
 
The vast majority of Mississippi has avoided the drought so far, but Eric Carpenter with the National Weather Service in Jackson believes farmers might not be out of the woods yet.
 
"We're in somewhat of a developing drought situation over the long term. There has been more rainfall in the last couple weeks, and that's helped some. But in the long term we're still below normal for rainfall for the whole year."
 
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports more than three quarters of Mississippi's corn crop is rated good to excellent.

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