Another excellent article from the New York Times this morning (I know, it surprises me too) highlighting the reality the drought, and to some extent, the lack of a farm bill, has had on rural America.
The article starts:
They have canceled vacations. Their children are forgoing out-of-state colleges for cheaper ones close to home. They are delaying doctor’s visits, selling off land handed down through generations and resisting luxuries like new smartphones.
And then there is the stress — sleepless nights, grumpiness and, in one extreme case, seizures.
Lost amid the withered crops, dehydrated cattle and depleted ponds that have come to symbolize the country’s most widespread drought in decades has been the toll on families whose livelihoods depend on farming.
Although most are not in danger of losing their homes or going hungry, the drought is threatening the way of life in rural America.
“You probably can’t print our mood,” said Dallis Basel, a sheep rancher in western South Dakota who sold off half of his herd because of the high feed prices caused by the drought. “It’s been kind of depressed. Like the wife says, she can’t drink enough to dull the pain of selling all the sheep.”
Adding to the uncertainty has been Congress’s failure to pass a farm bill; the previous version expired on Sunday. Although crop farmers will still get their insurance payments, livestock producers are now without an equivalent safety net. While lawmakers are expected to pass a farm bill after the November election, that might be too late for livestock producers, several of whom said they were losing tens of thousands of dollars a week because they were paying more to feed their animals than they were getting when they sold them.”