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    Posted July 18, 2012 by
    Virginia, Illinois
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Heat and droughts strike U.S.

    A Yearly Gamble


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     eatrenter3, a student at Illinois College, says record-breaking temperatures and a severe lack of rain are taking a toll on farmers across the Midwest. "The drought has significantly affected my families garden and the growth production of our produce.  We simply get by and work twice as hard to water and take care of our plants."
    - stein0726, CNN iReport producer

    After weeks of no rain, intense heat, and extraordinarily dry weather, farmers are finding themselves in difficult times. Right outside my backdoor, the effects of the Midwest drought can’t go unseen. If this weather continues, many farmers will be finding themselves in financial trouble. During a normal summer the corn stands shoulder high in July with a full green color to it, whereas now many corn fields are below average height, dry, brown, and thirsting for water. With picking season right around the corner in September, the corn doesn’t stand a chance in the hot, dry weather of Central Illinois. This particular period of time is especially important for the corn, because without rain the corn will not be able to mature. Normally corn pollinates and begins to mature in June and early July, but farmers have reached a critical moment. With the extreme high temperatures and dry conditions, the growing process has come to a halting stop. When this happens, the bushels per acre dramatically decrease, causing loss of income for farmers, and the price of corn to steadily increase. At this point, even if the weather turns around, there is no hope for many farmers, the corn is simply doomed. With the majority of corn being used for livestock, this will inevitably raise the cost of food we purchase and other products that use corn bi-products. It will have a ripple effect to the consumers. Others worry about how this crop devastation will affect the economy and the country as a whole, but I worry how this will affect small rural farming families. Maybe they were dealt a bad hand, but the odds are certainly not in their favor. It’s the chance farmers take every year, gambling with the weather.
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