Drought

Most of us may be enjoying the fall sunshine, but Northwest wheat farmers are instead wishing for a little rain. Correspondent Anna King caught up with one Northwest wheat grower in the vast Horse Heaven Hills near Prosser, Washington.

Study: "Megadrought" The New Normal In The West

Jul 30, 2012
Beverly Law

The drought that hit the West from 2000-2004 is not only the worst in 800 years, but it could be the new “normal."  That’s according to new research in the journal Nature Geoscience.

You’d have to go back to the middle ages to find a period as dry as 2000-2004 in the American West. Snowpack decreased. Crop productivity in much of the west went down by 5 percent. And that’s not the worst of it, the researchers say. Grasses, plants and trees suck up about 30 percent of our CO2 emissions in North America. In the Northwest, that percentage is even higher.

Photo by Anna King / Northwest News Network

Drought that’s sizzling the rest of the nation has largely left the Northwest states alone. Furthermore, the Midwest’s farmers’ misfortune is actually benefiting farmers here. That’s because grain prices are raising because of the Heartland’s decimated yields. Correspondent Anna King has this report from central Washington’s grain country.

Wheat stubble, grain elevators and whole lot of wide open – that’s Connell, Washington.

Anna King / Northwest Public Radio

Drought that’s sizzling the rest of the nation has largely left the Northwest states alone. Furthermore, the Midwest’s farmers’ misfortune is actually benefiting farmers here. That’s because grain prices are going up because of the Heartland’s decimated yields. Meanwhile, many Northwest farmers crops are above average.

The bureau of reclamation is predicting a water shortage in Oregon’s Klamath basin. The federal water agency has asked Klamath farmers to consider idling their land. Amelia Templeton reports.

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