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Drought conditions

Government officials plan emergency meeting to address persistent drought, potential famine conditions

Saturday, August 18, 2012 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: drought conditions, emergency, famine

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(NaturalNews) Persistently oppressive heat and continued lack of adequate rainfall has plunged much of the American Midwest into a historic drought, which is already threatening to destroy as much as 40 percent of the nation's soy crops, and 50 percent of the nation's corn crops (http://news.yahoo.com). To address this impending agricultural debacle, world leaders from Europe, Mexico, and the U.S. are planning to hold an emergency meeting to discuss tactics to overcome the rising food costs and food shortages that are soon to come.

The Star reports that representatives from the U.S., France, and Mexico will converge via conference call at the end of August to discuss potential options for handling the agricultural and economic super-storm that looms on the horizon. Even if rain were suddenly to show up where it is most needed, many food crops are already beyond saving (http://www.reuters.com). So authorities are now scrambling to figure out how best to handle the fray that is expected to arrive in the coming months.

Mississippi River quickly drying up, which means less food and no way to transport it

A perfect combination of perpetual drought and extreme heat has dried up much of the fertile Midwest soil, and sent water levels in the Mississippi River, which is a major transportation artery for delivering food and goods, plunging to levels not seen in decades. If conditions persist as they currently are in the coming weeks and months, America could face extreme food shortage conditions not seen since the Dust Bowl, or perhaps ever.

According to U.S. News, the water level in the Mississippi River is now at a near-record low, which has grounded many cargo barges, and narrowed the area in which barges can safely travel. Fewer barges are able to pass through the narrow, shallow water of the Mississippi, and those that do travel are having to travel much lighter than normal, which is quickly driving up the costs of transported goods and food.

"The products we tow, that product costs more. Somebody's got to come up with that cost," said Austin Golding, a third-generation co-owner of Golding Barge Lines, a river commerce barge operator out of Mississippi, to U.S. News. "We've just dealt with a historic flood, then the water drops ... We have some 50-year guys who've never seen anything like this before. It's a completely different river than anybody's ever seen."

Last year, America's "bread belt" was in the opposite predicament, having been drenched in too much precipitation that created near-record flooding conditions in many states (http://www.naturalnews.com/032335_flooding_Mississippi_River.html). This flooding significantly raised the floor level of the Mississippi which, combined with this year's ceiling-lowering drought, has created extremely shallow conditions in many parts of the river.

Meanwhile, corn prices have already risen by about 60 percent since June as a result of the drought and resultant food shortages, which is more than twice the projected decline in yield, according to CNN (http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/13/opinion/roberts-crops-climate/index.html). Many experts are also concerned that a coming food "depression" is rapidly approaching, perhaps eclipsing the one that occurred in 2008, which sent food prices temporarily soaring. (http://www.naturalnews.com/031545_USDA_food_prices.html)

Sources for this article include:

http://www.thestar.com

http://usnews.nbcnews.com
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