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Western drought brings another woe: voracious grasshoppers

Posted at 8:24 AM, Jun 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-24 16:51:57-04

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A drought blanketing the U.S. West is drying up waterways, sparking wildfires and leaving farmers scrambling for water.

Next up: voracious grasshoppers. U.S. agriculture officials are launching what could become their largest campaign since the 1980s to kill grasshoppers in western states. Ranchers fear the insects will strip bare the public and private rangeland where cattle graze.

In central Montana, more than 50 miles from the nearest town, rancher Frank Wiederrick says the grasshoppers “are cleaning us out" and fears he'll have to sell his cows as the infestation worsens. Scientists say such outbreaks could become more common as climate change shifts rainfall patterns.