Farmers -- and speculators -- are watching the skies for rain over America's agricultural heartland. Speculators have driven cotton, grain, and soybean prices up sharply. Recent rain showers in the drought area have been inadequate to save many crops.
If the drought lasts until the first week in August, damage could drive grain prices even higher -- good news for speculators, bad news for consumers.
The drought obviously worries farmers; but many complain that long-term government policies are a much greater threat than the wealther. Texas cattleman and grain grower Carroll Chaloupka, who has been hard hit this year, says what it is needed are changes in "government programs which are designed not to help the farmers, but to give cheap food to the American people."m