This week’s Trending Headlines highlights the ongoing challenges facing ranchers in the western states including swarms of grasshoppers and increasing drought conditions. We also take a look at cattle markets and rising food and fuel prices. The blog wraps up with a look at Biden’s executive order to address competition in various industries, as well as an update on the farmer debt forgiveness program and the response from producers across the country.
1. “Cattle are competing against grasshoppers for food in the West’s historic drought. The bugs are winning.” by Rachel Ramirez for CNN
Ramirez writes, “Against the backdrop of unprecedented heat waves and deadly wildfires, the West’s historic drought has ranchers fighting another problem besides water shortages: a prolific hoard of grasshoppers is competing with cattle for food.
“Around 93% of the West is in some level of drought this week, and a bizarre impact of this pernicious dry condition is the explosion of the grasshopper population. Grasshoppers have devoured so much vegetation that many ranchers fear rangelands could be stripped bare.
“A 2021 grasshopper hazard map from the USDA shows each square yard of land contains at least 15 grasshoppers in parts of Oregon, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, and Nebraska.”
2. “Cattle markets have been upended, and big meat producers are making 20 times normal margins as beef prices soar” by Ethan Wu for Business Insider