(NBC) - At its core, farming can be a hard, demanding life, but for many in Missouri and across the Midwest it has never been as difficult as this year.
"With the intense heat we've had and the lack of rain, we've had two measurable rains since April 30th here at our dairy," notes Polk County dairy farmer David Franscka.
That has left burned out fields of cracked and broken earth.
All 114 counties in Missouri have been declared disaster areas.
93-percent of the state is suffering through extreme drought conditions.
It's the worst the Franscka family has seen in more than 50 years of dairy farming.
Their ponds are dried-up and their pastures haven't produced any hay or a place to graze, so they have to pay for feed.
'We've spent in excess of $150,000 the last three months just on the added costs that normally, if you have normal grain prices and normal commodity prices and you don't have to buy all this hay, you know that's money that would be sitting in the bank," Franscka says.
Those costs will be passed on to consumers.
"This is just the beginning of something that's not going to be good for everybody, because your going to start feeling this in a couple of months at the grocery stores," he notes.
The drought has a direct impact on every American.
NBC News is dedicating the entire day to coverage of "The Drought of 2012" and will have reports across all platforms of the network including the Today Show, Nightly News, MSNBC and CNBC. You can follow the reports on Twitter by looking up the #Drought2012 hashtag.
For more information on how the drought has affected Kansas, go to: http://1.usa.gov/Pp98ux
For more information on how the drought has affected Missouri, go to: http://mda.mo.gov/drought
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