Low snowpack is likely to exact a serious financial toll on the economies of western states as well as on the quality of life of those who live there.
Urban residents will confront higher energy prices and rolling brown outs. Farmers will face water shortages for irrigation and those who are fortunate enough to have a supply of water will pay more to pump it. Compounding the frustration is a discouraging market outlook.
Traders were not surprised by supply and demand report numbers that paint a gloomy picture for the major commodities.
Corn prices have fallen more than 20 cents since January due in large part to the largest corn stockpile since 1992. Dwindling trade opportunities have also weighed in on the market.
And wheat prices, which flirted with three dollars three months ago, have fallen off roughly 30 cents despite some winter wheat concerns and smaller surpluses than last year.
But hardest hit has been the soy market. A European Union ban on animal byproducts in feed helped drive demand for soy late last year. Since that time, the price has been sliding downward. The one dollar drop in soy prices is the result of a host of factors including: the harvest of a record soybean crop in South America that is nearly 60 percent complete; projections by the department of agriculture for planted soybean acres in the U-S to reach their highest levels ever; and the lack of a market in Europe due to lower beef demand and massive culling as a result of foot and mouth disease.
European foot and mouth disease has claimed at least one American casualty. The National Pork Producers council has announced it is canceling its annual world pork expo that was to have been held this June.
Even though the U.S. has not had case of the disease since 1929, the NPPC says to protect the health of the U.S. livestock industry it is calling off the expo this year.
The trade show typically attracts thousands, including visitors from 60 countries.