The drought is negatively impacting commodities across the Pacific Northwest, and the western U.S., making 2021 a less than average year for many producers. But one Ag economist is concerned additional challenges lie ahead.
The University of Idaho’s Garth Taylor says this year’s drought is very frustrating for farm country, since the winter produced such as strong snowpack. He says what’s made this drought unique and more concerning is the fact that what happens today could impact producers for years to come.
“But what’s been happening with this heat, is that we’re now dipping into next year’s water. We’re dipping into the pool that we should be saving. And that’s what happens with multiyear droughts, and if this goes into next year, it can affect you for many years into the future if we continue on this path.”
Taylor says while dryland producers have been hit very hard by the lack of moisture, some irrigated farmers have felt the pinch as well.
To turn things around for the next growing season, the west needs to see measurable precipitation in the next couple of months, if not sooner. But Taylor was quick to point out droughts are not always bad thing for farmers.
“What you’ll see with a lot of these, and it may be at the end of the year but, potato farmers, sugar beet or other farmers, earn more money as income, because the prices went up a lot more than the quantity of production went down.”
Taylor noted that Idaho is one of the top states when it comes to the amount of water pulled for irrigation.