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For the past three years, America’s Midwest has experienced serious drought and recent reports suggest that similar weather patterns will continue to hamper agricultural growth throughout the region. The resulting spike in corn (maize) prices has had a significant impact on the production of ethanol biofuels in the United States and many experts are now reconsidering whether biofuels represent an economically viable alternative to gasoline.
According to the National Climatic Data Center, roughly 63 per cent of the contiguous United States suffered from moderate to exceptional drought conditions by the end of July 2012. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has classified the current drought as the most extensive in at least a quarter-century, and the conditions have had a major impact on nationwide agricultural production. As of August 2012, 70 per cent of livestock and crop production takes place in areas affected by the drought.