Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

California grows almost half the fruits and vegetables in the U.S. It’s also deep in drought and some farms are short on water. That may sound like a chance for Midwestern farmers to churn out more peppers and broccoli, but it’s not that simple.

The California drought is not the golden opportunity that it may seem, not yet. Even in a drought California still has big advantages over the Midwest.

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

When the wind picked up from the south on John Schweiser’s farm outside Rocky Ford, Colo., the sky would go black. A charging wall of dust would force the 80-year-old farmer and his wife to hunker down in their ranch-style farmhouse.

“You’d look up and here’d come this big ol’ rolling dirt,” Schweiser said. “You couldn’t see how high it was.”

Drought conditions are again plaguing the northern half of Missouri, according to the latest U.S. drought monitor report.

Aberrant Weather Affects Crops

Apr 24, 2013
This year, Missouri has reported a 28% decrease in corn crop yields due to the devastating summer drought.
Samantha Powers / KRCU

The weather this year isn’t as beneficial to crops as many farmers would like, but it’s far better than last year’s drought. Though the cold weather is delaying planting, farmers are looking at an excellent year if the weather clears up.

Corn is looking to be the worst affected because the planting window is rapidly closing. If the cool weather continues, many farmers will have to consider planting other crops, such as soybeans. 

Dr. Michael Aide, Chair of Agriculture at Southeast Missouri State University, says the influx of moisture is a boon if it gets warmer.

Tornado Alley Moves Eastward

Apr 9, 2013

Eastern Missouri can expect a lot more severe weather this Spring, according to recent weather predictions.

The drought-ravaged states of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas are traditionally considered “Tornado Alley.” This, combined with the clash of warm and cold temperatures in the Pacific Ocean, has pushed Tornado Alley towards eastern Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana.

Professor Tony Lupo is Chair of Atmospheric Science at the University of Missouri. He says this is unusual, but not unexpected.