POSTED: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 9:00am
UPDATED: Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 9:02am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — Most of the country is suffering through drought conditions so severe that some places are worse off than they were during the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s.
It's affecting farmers now, but record food prices might be on the way for the rest of us.
Nearly 60 percent of the country is in some stage of drought.
More than 1,000 counties in 26 states have been declared disaster areas, the biggest such declaration ever.
More than half of the nation's corn crop is in trouble.
"It's probably gonna cost more in fuel than you'll end up getting out of it," says Illinois farmer Joshua Ibendahl.
It's already threatening to drive food prices to record levels, because corn has an impact on 75 percent of what's sold at the supermarket.
"That doesn't mean that the price at the supermarket is going to go up tomorrow, but it is going to go up next week. And it's going to continue to rise for a number of months," warns economist Bernard Weinstein.
The current drought actually covers more area than the dust bowl era drought of 1936 by a slight margin, and the the latest forecasts call for the drought afflicting the midwest to actually worsen.