Kansas Expands Disaster Area

The drought in Kansas, which has continued unabated since last month, shows no signs of letting up. Earlier this week, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack added 25 new counties in Kansas to the federal disaster area. To date, over 40 counties in Kansas are part of the disaster area, making this drought one of the worst in Kansas history.

The drought has struck in the middle of what should be prime harvesting time for Kansas wheat farmers. The drought has transformed formerly lush and vibrant fields into virtual deserts, crippling production and sending shockwaves throughout local economies. According to local farmers, the lack of rainfall is as bad as it was during the infamous Dust Bowl of the 1930s, where inclement weather devastated crops throughout the Plains. The drought has already had a significant impact on the Kansas economy, with wheat production down nearly 30 percent from last year.

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has praised Vilsack’s latest disaster announcement, stating, “This is worse than previous droughts I’ve seen and experienced during a lifetime in agriculture.  This extreme weather already is affecting how farmers and ranchers are doing business – and that in turn is impacting the economies of local businesses and communities.  It will take a great deal of time and rain to reverse the effects of this drought.” Farmers who may qualify for disaster aid should contact local Farm Service Agency offices.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer