Top US agriculture official admits praying for rain as drought worsens
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Vilsack, who is President Obama's Agriculture Secretary, told reporters at the White House: "I get on my knees every day and I'm saying an extra prayer now.
"If I had a rain prayer or rain dance I could do, I would do it."
Mr Vilsack had briefed Mr Obama on the scale of crisis which seems certain to get worse before it gets better.
A swathe of the US has been declared a disaster zone after weeks of record-breaking temperatures and minimal rainfall.
There is no relief in sight with weather forecasters predicting it will be weeks before significant downpours arrive.
A senior White House official told Sky News that Americans should beware being ripped off by those trying to take advantage of the drought.
The US is the world's largest producer of corn and farmers face losing entire crops unless significant rainfall arrives.
The price of corn is rising with huge potential consequences for food and energy markets.
It will force up the cost of feed for cattle and leading to fears that prices on the supermarket shelves could also go up.
But Michael Scuse, the US Under-Secretary for agriculture, told Sky News that the lag on corn supplies means high street prices should not be affected for up to a year.
He said: "Anyone who is seeing large increases in prices now should start asking some questions.
"We should not see an increase for some time and if we do it should not be that much."
Mr Vilsack echoed his words: "If people are beginning to see food price increases now, it is not in any way, shape, or form, related to the drought. And we should be very careful to keep an eye on that to make sure that people do not take advantage of a very difficult and painful situation."
In Indiana, one of the worst affected areas, 80% of the state is already suffering drought with the rest not far behind.
Farmer John Scott told Sky News: "It is terrible. Right now we're at the level where we have the potential for a Katrina-style disaster unless significant rain storms come through."
Mr Scott added: "There are areas out here where there will be 100% loss."
Indiana has suffered the driest period in its history and officials say the public has responded well to requests to conserve water.
Forecasters say a high pressure weather system over the Rocky Mountains and central US is responsible for the dry weather. It shows no sign of moving.
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