Widespread Drought Affects New Hampshire

Jul 18, 2012

The country is experiencing its worst drought in 50 years. Although New Hampshire has avoided the brunt of the drought damage, the loss of crops from the Midwest has far reaching consequences.

New Hampshire is not currently experiencing a drought. That’s according to the July 10 USDA Drought Monitor. However, the state’s agricultural industry has begun adjusting to national drought damage.

New Hampshire Agricultural Commissioner and dairy farmer Lorraine Stuart Merrill says local livestock farmers are concerned with the rising prices of grain feed for their animals. Merrill, speaking on NHPR’s ‘The Exchange,’ says the state is already seeing significant price jumps.

The grain prices have already gone up close to 50 percent on the markets. And we are very very concerned about what this is going to mean for feed prices right through this entire year until the next crop comes in in 2013.

Nationally, ranchers unable to meet the rising cost of feed have begun reducing herd size, which could mean more expensive meat for next year.

In New Hampshire, dying grass has forced livestock farmers who typically feed grass to their animals to purchase hay instead. As a result, hay has also become a coveted commodity.

As of July 18, the USDA has declared about 1,300 counties across 29 states disaster areas. Farmers there have access to low-interest emergency loans.