More than Half the Country Experiencing Drought

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More than half of the country is now experiencing some stage of drought, according to the weekly U.S. Drought Monitor report.

The primary regions include much of the West, where hot and dry weather has fueled wildfires. Farm states from the Dakotas to Wisconsin and down through Missouri are also affected. The main crops there are corn and soybeans.

The growing season this year began unusually wet and cold in the Midwest. The cool, soggy spring delayed planting and slowed crop growth.

However, the rain stopped in July in many Midwest states. The lack of moisture plus a regional heat wave dried out the soil and stressed crops.

Analysts say the current drought will likely not directly affect consumer prices at the grocery store.

However, a shortage of corn and soybeans could have a more immediate impact on meat prices because livestock farmers will be forced to pay more to feed their herds.

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