Worst-In-Generation Drought Dims U.S. Farm Economy Hopes

Tuesday, July 17, 2012
By Paul Martin

By Joshua Zumbrun and Mark Drajem
Bloomberg.com
Jul 16, 2012

A worst-in-a-generation drought from Indiana to Arkansas to California is damaging crops and rural economies and threatening to drive food prices to record levels. Agriculture, though a small part of the $15.5 trillion U.S. economy, had been one of the most resilient industries in the past three years as the country struggled to recover from the recession.

“It might be a $50 billion event for the economy as it blends into everything over the next four quarters,” said Michael Swanson, agricultural economist at Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC) in Minneapolis, the largest commercial agriculture lender. “Instead of retreating from record highs, food prices will advance.”

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