Widespread drought is currently ravaging 64% of America's contiguous 48 states, Chris Hayes reported on Sunday's Up w/ Chris Hayes. It's had a significant effect on crop production in the United States, and particularly on crop production in small, non-factory farms. Bryn Bird, a second-generation Ohio farmer, appeared on the program to explain how the drought—and a rapidly changing climate in general—have affected her family business.
"This drought, this year, has really affected us," Bird said. "We had our first three plantings of our sweet corn failure. ... That's like $40,000 crop loss, and to a small family farm, that's a ton of produce. The bigger issue is also we, being especially a crop farm, don't have the same types of insurance that commodity farmers do, and so we're an under-insured and uninsured industry. And so we don't have any way of regaining those losses.
It wasn't just the drought that was devastating her crops, she added. "Also, the heat. That's something people are not talking about. We talk about the drought, the lack of water, but the heat, we're in extreme heat. 105, 107 [degree] days—that doesn't happen in our area of Ohio. And corn, and all produce, can only grow during certain temperature ranges."
As climate change worsens, the consequences for global food prices could be staggering; and that would have wide-ranging and unpredictable consequences. "A world of food volatility is a world of political volatility," Hayes said.