Not good news:
More than half of all U.S. counties have been designated disaster zones, the Department of Agriculture reported, blaming excessive heat and a devastating drought that’s spread across the Corn Belt and contributed to rising food prices.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday declared disaster zone designations for an additional 218 counties in 12 states because of damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat.
The states are Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming.
Nearly three-quarters of the nation’s cattle acreage is inside a region hit by drought, as is about two-thirds of the country’s hay acreage, the agency reported.
USDA researchers added that an average of 37% of the nation’s soybeans were last week ranked from very poor to poor, the lowest quality recorded since a massive drought in 1988.
That means that all produce and livestock costs will be through the roof this fall, and more than likely there will be global food shortages. I’m not sure how food prices are calculated into the overall inflation index, but soaring inflationary costs in foods will probably spook the Fed, which seems focused only on inflation and not employment, into continuing to not do a damned thing about the economy. Although I’m not sure what the Fed can do other than more quantitative easing, which doesn’t seem to have done much the first two times.
*** Update ***
Interesting piece on how no one is really taking this stuff seriously.