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All That Pretty June Beach Weather? It's Killing Farmers' Crops

By Anthony Todd in Food on Jun 14, 2012 3:10PM

Photo by Jim Deane
When you live in the city and your primary concerns are getting to work on time without getting drenched, it's easy to forget that weather actually matters. Frankly, until the Sun-Times pointed it out to us, we hadn't noticed that we are actually in the middle of a drought. We were too busy enjoying the sun.

In a normal June, the Chicago area gets about two inches of rain by this point in the month. Right now, we've gotten a grand total of .01 inches. That's as if a slight mist settled over part of the city. If you're a gardener, you've noticed the pain, as your plants are a bit parched. It's worse for farmers.

"Across Cook, Will, Kendall and Kane counties, young corn and soybean plants are struggling to poke out of the cracked earth...'I’m trying not to worry, but Mother Nature is beating me up left and right,” said Jeff Haas, a Lockport/Homer Glen farmer. “Every day that goes by is more money out of pocket.'"

This, combined with our terrible year for fruits caused by the horrible spring weather and the lack of winter snow to replenish waterways and aquifers, means that it's going to be a not-so-great year for farmers and local eaters alike. Commodities markets are feeling it too; prices are up, and if they keep going up, all manner of things will get more expensive come fall.

Luckily, there's a 50 percent chance of a thunderstorm on Sunday. Yes, it might mean a beach day lost—but hope for rain instead.