Food & Farm News
Audio ActualityMidwest flooding and the impact of food costs
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» June 23, 2008 «
Westlands Water District has been given permission to pump a small amount of ground water into irrigation canals. However, the additional one-tenth of an acre-foot isn't expected to have a big impact on crop production. Approximately 10,000 acres of cotton and several thousand additional acres of tomatoes have been abandoned. The new water will help keep permanent crops alive. The normal hot weather is destroying unwatered plants.
Huron-area farmers have abandoned plans to plant lettuce and other vegetables for this fall. They will not have enough water to produce a crop. Typically, this area provides the nation's vegetable supply between harvest in Salinas and the Imperial Valley. It isn't clear which of the remaining regions could provide vegetables in November. Farmers in Michigan say too much rain has damaged their celery crop and vegetable growers in other Midwest states report similar problems.
Iowa farmers appear to be the hardest hit by flooding as more than 1 million acres of farmland is under water. Corn prices are expected to remain high and may lead to increased food prices. Iowa farmers hope to replant some of their land, but yields will be lower. Federal government projections are for the cost of food to increase about 5 percent this year as a result of lower yields of corn and soybeans.
Date growers in Southern California say they have adequate irrigation water supplies from the Colorado River and the aquifer beneath them. Pollination was later than normal this spring because of cool weather, but it is complete. Temperatures rose to average levels in June and the dates are responding to the heat. With temperatures expected to be above 100 degrees the crop will catch up and harvest will start in early October, the usual time.Top