The woes of a drought

If you bought an expensive snowblower last winter in Minnesota, only to have it be mostly snow-free, maybe you know how the person who bought a boat in Indiana feels…


A nationwide drought, though, isn’t much of a laughing matter. It’s the worst drought since the ’50s. Farmers in Nebraska have been told to stop irrigating. The rivers are running dry, just a year after wicked floodwaters hit the region.

As you travel the cornfields of southern Minnesota, though, you don’t see much evidence of the national problem. The corn is high and, while dry, it seems to be doing well. Over the weekend, I met a crop-dusting crew operating out of Dodge Center’s airport. Times are good and business is booming, at least in this neck of the fields.

Instead, the place you’ll see the drought is where it hurts most — your wallet or purse. Prices at the grocery store are heading higher. However, NBC reports, you can take advantage of the pain now…

For example, you may want to make room in your freezer for meat because prices for beef and pork are expected to drop in the next few months as farmers slaughter herds to deal with the high cost of grains that are used as livestock feed, said Shawn Hackett of the agricultural commodities firm Hackett Financial Advisors Inc., in Boynton Beach, Fla. But, he added, everything from milk to salad dressings are going to cost you more in the near term, and in the long term the meat deals will evaporate as demand outstrips supply.

Sometimes, these historic woes can be comforted by the sage wisdom of elders who had it tougher way back when. Take Tom Franks of Wawaka, Indiana, for example. Now 91, he recalled one of the worst droughts ever in the 1930s.

“Back then, we didn’t realize how hard it was for my parents and what they were going through,” he recalled. “We were just coming out of the Depression. I can still remember the day after the banks closed (in 1929). Dad came back from going to bank in town, and he told us there was no money. I still remember the look of panic on my mother’s face. I will never forget that.

“Dad was one of the lucky ones; he had a job driving kids to school, and that brought us a little extra money,” he said. “We didn’t have too much money to spend, but we had parents who loved us, and that was enough for us.”

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