OMAHA (KPTM)- The widespread drought is wreaking havoc on crops across the Midwest, including Nebraska. The latest casualties are corn and soybeans.
The USDA projects a massive slump in both harvests. The corn crop is expected to be the worst since 2006. And soybeans the worst since 2003. A smaller corn crop means prices could reach record highs, up to $8.90 a bushel.
With corn and grain prices rising, we can also expect a sharp increase in the price of meat, since farmers feed corn to their cattle.
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack toured the area, seeing just how bad the drought damage is.
"This is something my grandparents taught me about. Said, "you just don't believe how tough it can get until you don't have any food," said livestock farmer Mark Roemer.
Roemer says he has about 60 days left worth of hay feed for his cattle. Leaving him with nothing for the winter.
"You know, all of us have a tendency to say every day that things are difficult, regardless. I would say that this year has hit us right-square in the face with one of the biggest problems we could ever imagine," said Roemer.
Vilsack stressed the importance of passing a five year farm bill.
"We have had great momentum until the drought, but the best thing that can happen for livestock producers in short term, is for the house to complete its work on the food, farm and jobs bill that will have disaster assistance," he said.
Vilsack says livestock farmers are feeling the pinch and need the farm bill the most because they aren't protected now.
"We'll be able to administer, we'll be able to deal with whatever mother-nature can provide, if we have the tools and the flexibility to do so. That's why this passage of a farm and jobs bill is so important because congress has not renewed the disaster programs and so we're doing everything we can and we need congress to act," said Vilsack.
Farmers are questioning whether or not they should just sell their livestock or wait for Congress to make a change. They say money and crop is running very thin to feed their livestock and it's taking quite a toll on their animals.
"It's very dangerous to the cow because she's gonna have to become hamburger meat, I'm afraid," said Roemer.
Until the bill is passed farmers say they will make do with what little they have left.
"It's time to conserve. It's time to save what we have and it's time to look again at how we go forward in the future. And whether or not our policies provide for another such incident as we're having at the present time," said Roemer.
The Agriculture Department hopes to have more information next week about help for livestock farmers. Officials say they want the bill on the president's desk by the end of September.
Can't find something?