I live in North Carolina- so why should I worry about the drought in the midwest? After all, we've been getting rain.
Initially, we are actually going to see some slight benefits from the drought. I predict that price of meat is going to drop as the market is glutted with animals going to slaughter. If you are looking to purchase farm animals yourself, you're going to find a lot of quality animals for bargain prices in the winter and early next year as people begin selling off parts of their herd to reduce the feed bill.
However, the drought that is killing field after field of corn and burning up the hay fields will make itself felt in not-so beneficial ways. After the initial flooding of the markets with beef, expect to see much higher prices next year as smaller herds mean less animals to go to slaughter. The price of food, from dog food or farm animal food to people food and other necessities that contain corn will rise, rise, rise as the crop will be so poor that any corn that makes it to market will be sold at a premium price. The U.S. ships more than half of all world exports of corn- a failed crop impacts anyone that works in those industries. Those in farm equipment sales are seeing a drop in sales as folks either can't afford to purchase new equipment or having nothing to harvest.
It's not all about corn either. Most of the soybean crop is also beyond saving. We are lucky here in the southeast, as soaking rains earlier this summer have helped restore some of our crops and gardens, but on a global scale, it's going to be too little to help. Other countries are experiencing their own droughts and record high temperatures, which isn't going to help ease the world wide burden.
So what can you do? Not a lot, unfortunately. Now is the time to stockpile what you can and as much as you can, as food prices are expected to soar. If you and your family love corn, I'd make plans to grow my own next year and meanwhile hit the local Farmer's Market in hopes of getting some to freeze for later. If you have the ability and the need, go ahead and buy your hay now before the price increases hit. A friend of mine has already seen her rabbit feed price jump $2.00 a bag in a week. Cull down any herds or flocks that you can now, while you still have an opportunity to make back some of your investment or even turn a profit.
There is no need to panic, but there is every reason to start preparing now.