The USDA has announced that disaster payments ranging from 90 to 110 dollars an acre would be made to landowners and producers in the Klamath Basin. The money may help sustain farmers and ranchers through the winter. But a question persists: how best can the government protect the environment while sustaining rural communities who are dependent upon the same natural resources? It's an issue with which the White House has only begun to wrestle. But the matter could become more flammable in the months ahead.
The climate in the nation's heartland also has presented farmers with meteorological challenges. For much of the summer, weather has driven commodity markets. Too wet, too dry, too hot, too cool -- corn, and soybean country has experienced it all. But with the approach of autumn harvest, it appears there will be a crop and it will be ample.
With the growing season more than half over, most of America's row crops seem to be in pretty good shape. Scattered showers brought much-needed moisture to parts of the grain belt this week, but crops deteriorated where rain was absent.
54-percent of the nation's corn is rated in the good to excellent range, though that's down 2-percentage points from last week.
Similar conditions can be found in soybean fields, where just over half of the legumes garnered top ratings... A decline of two points from last week.
56-percent of America's wheat crop is in good-to-excellent condition... Down from 58-percent last week, and half of the cotton crop is rated good to excellent... That's actually up two percentage points from the previous week.
This week, for the first time since the outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the British Isles, cattle were auctioned in Scotland. But to the south, British officials report new outbreaks of the disease, some in areas that officials thought were under control.
Since the disease was discovered six months ago, more than 2-thousand cases have been confirmed, and more than five million head of livestock have been destroyed in the effort to combat it.