Drought prompts federal disaster aid for several Kentuckiana counties


by WHAS11


Posted on August 8, 2012 at 6:41 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 8 at 6:41 PM

MEADE CO., Ky. (WHAS11) -- The summer drought is hitting area farmers hard and consumers will be paying more for just about everything from soda to bread to ethanol.

Gone are the days of ripe healthy corn. Homer Richardson's crops hit hard by serious drought.

"Now this is what it should look like," Richardson said.

His crop bins in Meade County will remain pretty empty come harvest time next month. He blames hot weather with little or no rain since June. Of his 1,000 acres of corn, Richardson lost 75 percent of his crop.

"It's still poor corn for standards of what you want to grow your corn," Andy Mills with Meade County Agriculture Agency said.

"I'm guessing and hoping we make 50 bushels anyhow... I had to walk deep into the bottom to find these so I think you' be generous at 50 per acre," Richardson said.

His soy bean fields look luscious, but it's too early to tell exactly how much they will yield.

According to the US Drought Monitor, drought conditions in more than 78 percent of Kentucky including our area. The worst in the western counties of Brown, Red and Orange.

Twenty-four percent of the state of Indiana is experiencing exceptional drought issues -  85 percent in severe drought.

Because of supply and demand, higher grocery prices trickle down to the consumer. Almost everything contains corn or soybean ingredients. Soda with high fructose corn syrup, cereal and bread made of grains, dessert snacks with soybean oil, even ethanol.

"The byproducts from corn goes into a lot of foods for sweeteners. That's going to make any food higher any kind of corn in it," Mills said.

Richardson said he pays $20,000 a year for crop insurance and hopes next season brings more rain.

Click here for information about Disaster Assistance Programs from the Farm Service Agency.