U.S. drought report shows dry areas across much of the nation

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Published: Mar. 16, 2021 at 6:17 AM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - As farmers around the country get closer to spring planting, the moisture situation becomes more of a factor. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows many parts of the country are facing dry conditions this spring. In the Midwest, parts of Missouri, Iowa, Northern Minnesota, Illinois as well as parts of Wisconsin are holding on to drought and dryness from last fall. In the High Plains, many areas in the Dakotas and Wyoming are also dry. But the driest parts of the country are out west. All of Nevada, Utah and New Mexico are in a drought with Arizona and Colorado rated over 98% dry. Meteorologists say Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Colorado, California and Texas are in “exceptional drought.”

The Upper Great Lakes—Mississippi River shipping season is expected to begin a week from Thursday, on March 25th. At the end of last week the Coast Guard broke up the ice in the Duluth-Superior harbor and are now making their way up to Thunder Bay. Harbor officials said the ice on Lake Superior was minimal this winter so they might even open the Soo Locks a little early this year. Last year the grain shipping season through the Duluth-Superior Locks began on April 8th.

A decision last Thursday by the U.S. International Trade Commission could have an effect on phosphate fertilizers coming to this country in the future. On a 4 to 1 vote, the Commission said those fertilizers coming to the U.S. from Russia and Morocco have been illegally subsidized by those governments. That means our Commerce Department will now put countervailing duties of about 20% on those fertilizer imports. The final report on the Commission’s findings will be released on April 13th.

Another major agricultural event that had to be cancelled last summer because of the Covid-19 pandemic is coming back this summer. The 2021 World Pork Expo, the world’s largest pork specific trade show, will again be held at the Iowa State fairgrounds in Des Moines from June 9th through the 11th. In past years the show has attracted over 20,000 visitors to view over 360 thousand square feet of exhibits from over 500 companies. National Pork Producers Council officials say registration information for this year’s show should be available soon. Closer to home, the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin will hold their annual business conference tomorrow and Thursday live in Wisconsin Dells.

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