Corn and soybean fields of dreams have turned into nightmares as severe drought conditions have dried up many of Iowa’s crops and prompted Governor Tom Vilsack to ask for a federal drought review. The review could led to federal assistance for Iowa farmers. State Agriculture Secretary Patty Judge says the green fields of corn have turned brown. Judge says up until the first part of August, it looked like we would have a bumper crop. She says since that time, things have deteriorated daily. Judge says you can find someone in each of Iowa’s 99 counties that will say they have damage from the dry conditions. She says all corners of the state are lacking in topsoil moisture, and she says it has become critical in the northeast corner of the state. Overall, Judge says the dry conditions are as bad as we’ve seen in many, many years. Judge says some farmers will lose at least half their yields.She says it’s just speculation, but some farmers has predicted a 200-bushel-an-acre corn yield, and now say that could be cut to 100-bushels-an-acre. In her home area of southern Iowa, Judge says people have told her they’re losing one third to one half of their crop. Judge says some farmers have already had to start feed hay to their cattle as the grasses for grazing livestock have dried up. Vilsack and Judge met with the media this morning and said they’re getting the federal review underway. Vilsack says the situation could still improve in some areas with a little rain, but they don’t want to wait. He says they want to be in a position to be proactive, as farmers will be faced with fall payments and they’ll need resources to finish out the fall harvest. He says if they wait, it’ll make it that much more difficult for farmers. Vilsack says they’ll supply federal officials with a list of counties and have them do a review to see if federal help is warranted. He says the federal help could come in the form of low-interest loans, financial assistance for purchased feed and water programs, and access to restricted haying and grazing fields. Judge says the aphid infestation has added to the problem in bean fields.
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