In the latest drought monitor released by USDA’s National Ag Statistics Service, the state saw little change from the previous week with 5% of the state remaining drought free in the counties of Oconee, Pickens, Greenville, and a small portion of Spartanburg. The area of the state reporting abnormally dry conditions remains at 95%, however the area of the state experiencing moderate drought conditions decreased from more than 89% to just under 68%. The area reporting severe drought conditions decreased from 58% to 47%, largely in the midlands and along the Georgia border, and the area under extreme drought conditions decreased from 13% to 6.28% in the counties of McCormick, Edgefield, parts of Aiken, Barnwell, and Allendale counties. One year ago, more than 30% of the state was in extreme drought, and more than 12% of the state was in exceptional drought.
Weekly Drought Monitor Holds Steady in NC
In the latest drought monitor released by the USDA National Ag Statistics Service, North Carolina held steady with the previous week. Just shy of 58% of the state remains drought free, from the Piedmont to the Tennessee state line, and in the Coastal Plain. The majority of the Piedmont remains either in abnormally dry conditions, 42 %, and the area of the Piedmont reporting Moderate drought conditions decreased from just over 14% to 13.8%.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to Deliver Keynote Address at Commodity Classic
For the fourth straight year, farmers and other attendees to Commodity Classic will have Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack deliver a keynote address to an expected crowd of more than 6,000 during the Commodity Classic’s General Session on March 1. The 2013 Commodity Classic takes place February 28-March 2 at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center and the Orlando World Center Marriott in Kissimmee, Fla.
Food Prices Continue to Increase, but at Slower Pace
While the drought in the Midwest has been classified as a disaster in many ways, but the increase in food prices due to the drought shouldn’t be quite so disastrous according to USDA analyst Ricky Volpe:
“We are not looking at dramatic food price inflation. We will certainly see an impact of above average food price inflation, but there is no cause for panic. We are looking at increase of about 3-4 % on the year. Consumers will feel it, but they have seen worse in recent history.”
The Food at Home index has seen a significant increase, according to Volpe:
“We saw the Food at Home CPI, which is the index for supermarket prices, that went up 0.6%, which might not sound like a lot but we haven’t seen it jump like that since 2011.”