There is something distinctly pathos-inducing about a corn plant
dying of thirst. Maybe that’s why coverage of the 2012 drought has
focused on commodity crops, especially corn.
Reading the reports, you almost expect Tom Joad to step out from
between the brown-baked stalks, as if Steinbeck were writing the copy.
For non-commodity farms — a category that includes many diverse,
organic, and locally supported operations — the story is about much more
than maize. A month into summer, the drought has walloped small
Midwestern farmers, the very same farmers already struggling to survive a
weak economy, a market dominated by rapacious agribusinesses, and oh
yeah, climate change.