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Rancher Gary Wollert pauses before heading out for work on August 23, 2012 near Eads, on the plains of eastern Colorado. The nation's severe drought has been especially hard on cattlemen and exacerbated when Congress recessed for 5 weeks withough passing disaster relief legislation. Most of the high plains areas of eastern Colorado and virtually all of Nebraska and Kansas are still in extreme or exceptional drought, despite recent lower temperatures, 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)

U.S. drought crisis

Triple-digit temperatures and weeks without rain withered and destroyed many crops in the Midwest, sending commodity soybean and grain prices soaring in 2012.