The drought, which is currently ravaging the Midwest and the Corn Belt, is worsening in the Plains States, worrying many farmers and lowering the economic potential of the agricultural sector.
The current drought is one of the worst the country has seen in a generation. More than two-thirds of the nation is experiencing some form of drought, with one-third experiencing severe to extreme drought. The severe weather comes at a bad time for American farmers, who had hoped to raise the largest corn crop in 80 years this summer. Nationwide, about 50 percent of the corn crop is in poor or very poor condition.
The National Drought Monitor, updated weekly, reports that, while drought conditions nationwide are receding (the Monitor reported that the amount of land in the U.S. currently suffering from any drought conditions lowered by 1 percent), the severity of the drought appears to be worsening. The amount of land experiencing extreme or exceptional drought (the two worst conditions) increased by 2 percent to nearly one-fourth of the country.
The conditions are worsening largely due to the geography of the drought. The Plains States currently experiencing some of the worst drought conditions tend to see fewer benefits from rain (meaning that the modest rain experienced last week did little to mitigate the severity of the drought. This combined with temperatures higher than ever recorded in the 117-year history of U.S. weather monitoring, means that conditions are rapidly spiraling out of control.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer