Not since the Dust Bowl has a drought ravaged crops like the dry heat that spread across more than half the US for most of 2012.
The extreme conditions resulted in widespread harvest failure for corn, sorghum, and soybean crops across several Midwestern states, contributing to an estimated financial impact of $30.3 billion and at least 123 fatalities.
"It's not that we're gonna go out of business overnight," one Iowa farmer told the Monitor for a cover story on the drought's global implications last September. "But what we're worried about is next year. We've got to get some moisture." A shortage in America's bread basket rippled throughout the rest of the world, driving food prices upward and pinching local economies.