USDA leader tours drought-stricken Kansas, Missouri

BUCYRUS, Kan. - The impact of this summer's drought is so far reaching that one of the nation's top agriculture officials was in Kansas and Missouri to see it for himself.

The drought has changed the Guetterman family's farming routine.

"We will finish up with corn harvest by Labor Day," said Nick Guetterman. "Normally, we'd start harvest by Labor Day."

Low yields are all the Guettermans are getting out of their Miami County fields. They're not alone.

"Right now, individual farmers are losing anywhere from hundreds of thousands of dollars to millions of dollars per farming operation," said Michael Scuse, U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary for Farm and Foreign Aid Services.

Scuse's drought tour brought him to the Guetterman farm in Bucyrus on Wednesday. Their operation will break even this year thanks to crop insurance. However, there is no safety net for livestock producers.

Scuse said both Kansas and Missouri have done a good job giving ranchers money to clean up ponds and dig wells to hydrate their herds.

"We've done a lot of things that help our producers save money and we've put additional money into some of the programs to help through this situation," Scuse said.

He said the USDA has already spent tens of millions of dollars to help farmers and ranchers, but believes there is more to do.

Nick Guetterman agrees, citing this year's harvest.

"I don't think there will be any profit, no," Guetterman said.

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