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Chance of Midwestern drought 'significant'

April 18, 2008
An Iowa State University forecaster is pegging the odds of a major summer drought in the Midwest at one in three.

Elwynn Taylor, who has been producing the forecasts for 20 years, called the chance "significant," the Chicago Tribune reported.

Major droughts tend to hit the Midwest every 18 to 19 years, Taylor said. The last was 20 years ago, in 1988.

Moreover, the Southeast has been struck by drought a year before the Midwest for the past 17 droughts; last year the region suffered a devastating dry stretch.

Drought in one of the world's major food-producing regions could force food costs higher and create more hunger around the globe.

Furthermore, growing use of corn and other crops for fuel in the U.S. and Europe could create a backlash, and possibly undermine the biofuel movement.

Another result of rising food prices could bring into cultivation fallow land now in the U.S. federal reserve program.
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