Sweltering summer heat took toll on many U.S. farms

Extension, Louisiana — Van Hensarling grows peanuts and cotton. But this Mississippi farmer's harvesting a disaster. 

"It probably took two-thirds of the cotton crop, and probably half of the peanut crop," Hensarling told CBS News. "I've been farming for over 40 years, and I've never seen anything like this."

His losses alone amount to about $1.2 million.  A combination of too much heat and too little rain.

This summer's same one-two punch knocked down Jack Dailey's soybean harvest in neighboring Louisiana. He calls soybeans, "poverty peas."

"Everything hurts on a farm if you're not getting everything, all the potential out of your crop," Dailey said.

Over the summer here in Franklin Parish, 27 days of triple-digit heat baked crops. Making matters worse, between mid-July and the end of August there was no rain for nearly six weeks, not a drop.

Another issue for the soybean fields is it never really cooled down at night during this scorcher of a summer, further stressing these beans, which further stressed the farmers. 

Summer extremes hit farms all across the U.S. from California, north to Minnesota, and east to Mississippi.  

The impact hurt both farmers like Dailey and U.S. consumers. He was relatively lucky, losing about 15% of his soybean crop.

"And so it looks like we're going to get our crop out, which is huge," Dailey said.

It's what always seeds a farmer's outlook: optimism. 

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