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Dawn of a new depression - Half of U.S. counties now designated disaster areas, financial fallout undeniable

Thursday, September 20, 2012 by: Jonathan Benson, staff writer
Tags: drought, disaster areas, extreme weather

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(NaturalNews) Persistent and unrelenting drought conditions across much of the nation have all but destroyed about half of the entire corn crop for this year. And according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), a whopping 50 percent of the nation's counties are now considered to be disaster areas as a result of extreme weather conditions, which has prompted the federal government to make some significant policy changes in order to help prevent many farmers and ranchers from going under.

After compiling the latest available data from the official U.S. Drought Monitor, the USDA decided it was best to add another 218 counties to its official list of counties considered to be disaster areas. The new total, as a result of this addition, comes to a shocking 1,584 counties in 32 states that are now essentially unfit to grow crops this year due to lack of water. And if existing conditions persist, much of this year's crop of corn, soy, and other staple foods will likely completely wither and die.

According to Yahoo! News, Monsanto sympathizer and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has green-lighted the opening up of 3.8 million acres of restricted conservation land so ranchers can use it to graze their livestock, and thus avoid total loss. Many farmers and ranchers are also being offered federal aid and low-interest emergency loans, as well as grace period extensions on their insurance premiums, to help them survive this difficult and unprecedented time.

Millions of acres of GMOs on the verge of destruction

Besides a potential 50 percent loss of this year's overall corn crop, nearly 40 percent of the overall soy crop is also failing as a result of extreme drought conditions. If these crops do not get a significant drenching in the next few weeks or months, millions of acres of staple crops, most of which happen to be of genetically-modified (GM) origin, will eventually die.

The hardest hit states, according to reports, are "bread belt" states like Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, and North and South Dakota. Several southeastern states are also in dire straits agriculturally, say experts, including Georgia, Tennessee and Mississippi.

In the not-too-distant future, this incredible crop loss will mean much higher food prices at the grocery store, especially for typically cheap, processed foods that are loaded with corn and soy byproducts. Meat prices are also expected to increase dramatically throughout the next year, after first dipping in price for a short time. The end result of this, of course, is that meat will become inaccessible for many people.

"By next year the prices of meat will rise as the supply of livestock reaches multi-decade lows," says Tom Chatham of Project Chesapeake. Adding to that sentiment, Larry Pope, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Smithfield Foods, recently explained that beef "is simply going to be too expensive to eat." Pork and chicken will also rise in price, he says.

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