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New Dust Bowl?

Extreme heat, drought leave parched fields, desperate farmers in Midwest

Common Dreams staff

As record temperatures and drought leave corn fields parched in the Midwest, some farmers fear a new Dust Bowl is lurking, the New York Times reports.


The Times notes that that acreage of corn planted this year was the highest in 75 years, and warm spring temperatures had allowed earlier planting and had risen farmers' hopes of high returns.

But Illinois farmer Don Duvall told the Times, “It all quickly went from ideal to tragic.”

The ongoing heat and lack of rainfall have left corn crops in some midwestern states far smaller than usual for this time of year, if not clinging to life.  And with the pollination time for the crop soon approaching, the viability of much of the corn to survive is chancy, as stressed crops may not pollinate. 

The Times ends with an eerie image of a farmer picking up his soil which turns to "a dusty powder."

The Dust Bowl that struck the Plains in the 1930s as a result of heat, drought and ecologically devastating agricultural practices left highly eroded lands and hundreds of thousands of people displaced. With the ongoing extreme temperatures as well as a lack of widespread agroecological approaches, a new dust bowl may indeed be upon us.

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Stinging Dust & Forgotten Lives: The Dust Bowl
Copyright 2008 by Cameron Douglas Craig and Kevin Harker Jeanes

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