Photos by Scott Olson / Getty Images
Corn plants dry in a drought-stricken farm field on July 17, 2012 near Fritchton, Ind. The corn and soybean belt in the middle of the nation is experiencing one of the worst droughts in more than five decades.
Drought-damaged corn grows in a field on July 17, 2012 near Princeton, Ind. The state was the nation's fourth largest corn producer in 2011.
Broiling heat blanketed much of the Midwest again on Tuesday, exacerbating the region's worst drought in more than 50 years and devastating corn, soy and other vital crops.
Across the country's agricultural heartland, elected officials met with farmers and ranchers affected by the growing disaster promising government relief.
Corn plants dry in a drought-stricken farm field near Shawneetown, Ill. According to the Illinois Department of Agriculture 48 percent of the state's corn crop is currently in poor to very poor condition.
Farmers will have to ration corn usage as the price of corn creeps skyward, affecting almost everything from crayons to car tires. NBC's Kevin Tibbles reports.