Hello, I'm Mark Pearson.
This week there was more statistical and anecdotal evidence suggesting the economy is improving. Alan Greenspan told Congress as much. The Labor Department reports the fourth quarter expanded more than anyone thought and first quarter durable goods orders are up and unemployment is down a bit. While Wall Street is optimistic, the economic expansion has not had a significant impact on Main Street. Indeed, most of Rural America remains concerned about the fundamentals of producing agri-commodities. And, currently the worries are beginning to mount over continental weather patterns.
With winter entering into the home stretch and spring on the horizon, drought is on the minds of U-S producers. Nearly one-third of the nation is in some stage of drought.
Snowpack is improving in the West, but images of last summer's water shortage are still lingering.
The East coast is now feeling the effect of dry conditions. Eastern cities have begun to tap into less desirable supplies of water and some areas have seen shallow wells dry up.
And farmers in the central plains states are hauling water, selling cattle and wondering about the potential for irrigation in the month to come.