The U.S. corn harvest continues ahead of schedule with some states nearly half-finished at a time when they usually are just getting started.
The USDA said Tuesday in its weekly crop update that little has changed in the condition of drought-damaged corn and soybeans. That's because the plants are too far along for recent rain to make a difference.
Corn was planted several weeks earlier this year and matured more quickly in the summer heat, allowing farmers to start harvesting early.
According to the USDA's crops progress report, which was released on Monday, in Missouri, 83 percent of the corn acreage and 72 percent of soybeans are in very poor or poor condition. Both figures are the worst for any major agricultural state. Optimism for a good corn yield is dwindling, but Southeast Missouri State University’s Michael Aide says there is still hope for soybeans.
Updated with comments from McCaskill conference call.
The entire state of Missouri is now a federal agriculture disaster area.
Seventeen of the state's counties, mostly in the Bootheel, had already received that declaration. Today's announcement from the U.S. Department of Agriculture extends that declaration to the other 97 counties and the city of St. Louis.
Columbia residents who want to buy local fruits and vegetables, but have trouble getting to the farmers market will be able to get there more easily by bus starting next month, thanks to a new USDA grant.
Following up on President Obama's State of the Union address last week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack is touring the country, touting his boss's job-creation efforts in rural America -- Missouri was his latest stop. In this week's Health & Wealth update, a conversation with Secretary Vilsack: we talk rural jobs, USDA office closures, and the fate of the farmer's safety net in the face of natural disasters and shrinking budgets.