Mother Nature made her mark again this year and did so, unfortunately,
in the most extreme ways: hellish heat, drought, superstorms and other
wild weather events.
Darren Becker sifts through arid topsoil under a ruined crop on the family farm on August 24, 2012 in Logan, Kansas. Like many Kansas farmers who's profits have been wiped out by the record drought, the Beckers are working hard to hang on to their farm, which has been in their family for five generations. Most of Kansas is still in extreme or exceptional drought, despite recent lower temperatures and thunderstorms, according to the University of Nebraska's Drought Monitor. The record-breaking drought, which has affected more than half of the continental United States, is expected to drive up food prices by 2013 due to lower crop harvests and the adverse effect on the nation's cattle industry. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)