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Could the Severe Cold Temperatures in the US Lead to a Drought? - 4th February 2014

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Tuesday 4th February 2014.
Sarah Mikesell - TheCropSite Senior Editor

Sarah Mikesell
Senior Editor



Could the Severe Cold Temperatures in the US Lead to a Drought?  

This past week, I listened in to the Allendale Ag Leaders Conference which was done via webinar this year. I’ve tried to convince them to have this conference in Hawaii, but no luck yet! The first session was with the always popular Drew Lerner, president of World Weather Inc.

When asked where he sees this winter ranking in terms of historical cold temperatures in the US, Drew said he expects it will rank in the top five depending on where you are.

“The coldest temperature anomalies recently have been in the upper Midwest, but there’s a lot of people who live in the Ohio River Valley that would tell you that’s totally wrong. I think there’s a pretty good chance that both areas will be very close to their coldest on record,” he said.

Looking at historical data, one of the coldest winters in the Upper Midwest was in 1936.

“If that doesn’t send a chill up your spine, I don’t know what would because 1936 was a very serious drought year that, when we got into the summer, the Upper Midwest had its seventh hottest year and its third driest year,” Drew said.

The Ohio River Basin in 1936 was the second-driest on record and the second-hottest. The US hard red winter wheat belt had its third-hottest year on record and was the first-driest.

“While I’m scaring you all, I will tell you I don’t expect that to happen again,” he said. “But it concerns me a little bit because of the fact that when we had the drought in 2012, we paralleled 1934. And when 2013 came around, it looked like we were going to have a better year, and we did. But the better year after 1934 was 1935. And then in 1936 we had the second round of severe drought across this country.”

The dry weather in the western US and the central states left over from the past few years of drought along with the severe cold also makes Drew a little nervous.

“I think what’s most important is that this will go down in the record books as a very significantly cold year,” he said.

In other news… in January, the USDA released a report affirming a positive trend in US health: American adults have been consuming fewer calories. Many are associating this change with the recent recession and the corresponding uptick in cooking at home.

On January 14, American Meat Institute VP of Scientific Affairs Betsy Booren, PhD, offered testimony to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, explaining the nutritional importance of meat and poultry.

Booren said, “Foods from animals, including meat and poultry, are THE natural source of vitamin B12, which is important for normal metabolism and mental clarity … Meat and poultry are rich in nutrients your body can use and help people derive more nutrients from vegetables and grains when consumed in combination.”

I saw this bit of news at an interesting new source that’s definitely worth a look - Food & Agriculture Influence Feed from Zoetis. To learn more about Influence Feed, click here.

I’m in Nashville, Tennessee, USA this week to cover the National Cattleman’s Beef Association meeting. So check out our sister site - - for NCBA coverage.

Have a great week!

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