A report from the antihunger group Feeding America says that food insecurity rates are highest in rural counties and in the South, says the news site CityLab. For the report, Feeding America combined data from USDA, the Census Bureau and the Labor Department "to stitch together a portrait of food insecurity at the state and county levels," says CityLab, with Jefferson County along the Mississippi River in southwestern Mississippi having the highest rate in the nation, 38 percent.
Drought will persist into the winter in the South and expand in the wheat-growing southern Plains, says the National Weather Service in a forecast running through Feb. 28. Some 30 percent of the nation already is in drought, and the past month has been very warm and dry east of the Rocky Mountains.
Parts of Alabama and Georgia have seen no rain in two months as drought expands in the South, the Northeast and the Great Plains, said the weekly Drought Monitor. "The dryness in the Southeast dates back to the beginning of the year, which has dried soils and brought stream flows to record lows."
Researchers at Clemson University "have begun the process of restoring a nearly extinct variety of wheat that traces its American roots to the 1700s," says Southeast Farm Press.
Growers in the southern Plains and the mid-South express sticker shock at the price of the new Supplemental Coverage Option (SCO), created by the 2014 farm law to allow growers to boost their level of revenue protection, says DTN.
Soil erosion occurs 100 times faster on hillsides that are cleared of trees and converted to farmland, based on studies of 10 large river basins in the U.S. Southeast, says research led by a University of Vermont geologist.
Legislation "to regulate genetically modified crops at the local and state level" are beginning to appear in agriculture-friendly Southern states, says Delta Farm Press.