Friday, September 14, 2007

My home town is drying up

I grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland, bordering Washington, D.C. My mother still lives there and reports that she has to mow her acre-and-a-half lawn much less frequently now that a drought as set in. There are still a few farmers left in this overdeveloped expanse of bedroom neighborhoods for our bloated government industrial operation. The Washington Post recently carried this story: Drought Shrivels Farmers' Crops and Income.

Lechlider said it's the worst he has ever seen -- and that's saying a lot for a man who has raised pigs and grown sod, corn, soybeans and hay in northern Montgomery County for more than half a century. He's 86 and still going strong, but summers like this test even hearty men like him, he said. It's not just Montgomery. According to an analysis by the National Drought Mitigation Center, 97 percent of the state is experiencing abnormally dry conditions.
Amidst all the reporting of drought covering the entire American Southwest and Southeast, the fact that much of the East Coast is drying out adds a dimension to the problem. If we're in just the beginning of what could be a period of worsenng drought, it's clear that we could be seeing impacts not only on the livelihoods of farmers, but on consumers who would have bought those farmers' products.

If we have to migrate agricultural production to where temperature ranges, seasonal length and precipitation will support it, when and where do we start this kind of adaptation?

[photo from Washington Post]

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