USDA Declares Natural Disaster Situations In 26 States Hit By Drought

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared a state of natural disaster in more than 1,000 counties spread across 26 states, as drought and fires have hit the country hard this season. That covers about a third of all the farmers in the country.

Bloomberg News says the USDA’s declaration is aimed at helping those farmers by making them eligible for low-interest loans to help them weather the various disasters.

The USDA says it will also change procedures to allow disaster claims to be processed more quickly and lessen the penalty ranchers get for letting their animals graze on land set aside for conservation. The declaration is effective as of tomorrow.

“Agriculture remains a bright spot in our nation’s economy,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “We need to be cognizant of the fact that drought and weather conditions have severely impacted farmers around the country.”

Moderate to extreme drought covers about 53% of the Midwest right now, where most of the country’s crops are grown. That’s boosting costs for companies who rely on those products as well, including McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, among others.

Most of the Southwest is covered by the declaration as well, as an area that has been ravaged by wildfires recently.

The declaration covers counties in the following states: California, Oregon, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Florida, Delaware and Hawaii.

Disaster Declared In 26 States As Drought Sears U.S. [Bloomberg]

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  1. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    …what are the chances that anyone will be bright enough to outlaw ethanol-from-corn now?

    No? Well, of course not. That would be sensible. Well, it would have been sensible before…but even moreso now.

    • incident_man says:

      Diverting food crops to support an ever-growing energy demand from an ever-growing population = bad idea.

      Developing new sources of energy, such as fuel cell technology, implementing energy conservation methods, and curbing exploding population growth = good idea.

      Convincing big oil, big corn, and religious or uneducated groups hell-bent on big families = another idea entirely.

      • crummybum11 says:

        Yes, let’s keep that corn where it belongs:

        FAST FOOD!

        http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/11/fast-food-anoth/

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          Fast food, sure…but really, essentially all food. Pretty much all livestock/food animals are fed from corn. And of course corn oil is used in the production of pretty much everything else.

          So it’s correct to say “fast food is all corn!” – but only as a subset of saying “food is corn!”

      • MrEvil says:

        The overwhelming majority of corn grown in the US actually goes to feed Livestock. Even then, the leftover solids from Producing ethanol from corn (similar to the solid byproducts from making beer or liquor) can be then converted into a high protein livestock feed. In fact, brewery byproducts are considered top shelf animal feed. This feed does cost more than straight corn silage. But if you’re thinking that suddenly a ton of Americans are going to go hungry you’re sadly mistaken.

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          Taking the corn straight to livestock feed would still be better. And with the drought, you’re getting less usable silage too.

          Americans aren’t going to go hungry…but the cost of hamburger will go up (and everything else, really).

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Hawaii is in a drought?

    I guess I can just walk over there now, right? No more water!

    /I kid. I know being surrounded by ocean doesn’t make you droughtproof.

  3. frankrizzo:You're locked up in here with me. says:

    Bad here in Indiana again. And this is coming off a pretty much snowless winter. Yikes!

    There’s nothing wrong with our weather!

  4. Tegan says:

    It seems like we’re always in a drought here in GA. Now everyone can start bitching about not being able to water their lawns again. People get serious about that, they’ll try and sneak and do it at 3 or 4 in the morning, but the sheriffs and such will be out driving around giving people tickets.
    Man, life in the suburbs is so exciting.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      Weird. I actually like it when we don’t get a lot of rain, once the grass turns crispy it doesn’t grow and we don’t have to mow!

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        Crispy is one thing. Dead is another…the kind where you have to reseed your entire lawn to get grass again.

        Then again…first-world problems.

        • HogwartsProfessor says:

          I don’t have to. My yard grows anything like crazy. Clover, violets and creeping Jenny are trying to take over now. I hope the clover and violets win.

        • videoman says:

          Don’t reseed. Convert over to xeriscaping like we do in New Mexico.

      • Tegan says:

        Yeah, mowing the grass was always one of my least favourite things to do. Then again, I’m rather against most things that involve being outside if the temperature is above 85 degrees or so unless I’m at the beach.
        My fiance and I just live in an apartment now so no troubles there, but we are looking to buy a house next year. Perhaps I’ll feel differently when it’s my own lawn, I don’t know.

        • frodolives35 says:

          Nope its still hot dusty and sucks. Plus you feel worse for putting it off because you are decreasing the property value for you and your neighbors the Joneses.

    • MaytagRepairman is stealing socks while fixing your dryer. says:

      I guess nobody in your neck of the woods will have somebody coming through their front door and waking them up to tell them their grass is too long.

  5. Galium says:

    “That’s boosting costs for companies who rely on those products as well, including McDonald’s and Coca-Cola, among others”,
    who will in turn raise their prices above what they loss and pass it along to consumers. Finished that one for you. /s

  6. alternety says:

    I second the comment about corn alcohol. With the exception of that needed to support the indigenous rites of the Kentucky hills.

    It not only screws up food supplies, it screws internal combustion engines (ever wonder why you cant get your chainsaw and lawnmower to start and run like they used to?).

    They also use more non-renewable energy than is recovered from the “renewable” ethanol.

  7. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Grow hemp. Drought-tolerant, mold-resistant, doesn’t need too many pesticides, and renewable. And you can’t smoke the industrial stuff, and if you plant the recreational stuff next to it, it pollinates and messes it up. :)

    I wrote a little article about hemp clothing when I was freelancing, and while researching it, was thinking “Why the hell aren’t we doing this!? This stuff is great!”

    Disclaimer: I don’t smoke pot, smoking anything is bad for your lungs, also it tastes like shit. Stinks, too. Bleah. :P

  8. Kuri says:

    So how many governors have decided prayer is the best solution, and how many people blame the president?

    • incident_man says:

      Hmm…….26 states………..Isn’t that exactly how many state Attorneys General challenged the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act? Correlation?

      Nah, it couldn’t be that……or could it?

      /sarcasm

  9. Libertas1 says:

    Obviously since it’s completely due to man made global warming, it no longer qualifies as a “natural” disaster.

    /s

  10. dicobalt says:

    Yea they keep saying there is a drought here in Florida but that doesn’t explain why my lawn is growing so fast I have to cut it every week. Or why baby trees keep sprouting from seed pods. Say there is a drought all you want, I don’t see it anywhere down here. In some places the weeds grow 6 feet tall just a couple months after being mowed down by the county.

    • dicobalt says:

      PS. The farmers down here need to learn how to cultivate a crop. They plow down their crops into the ground without letting them grow long enough. I can grow a fruitful tomato plants in my yard for 6 months of the year. The farmers can’t grow their tomatoes as well because they won’t let them grow and take root, they just want to pump it full of fertilizer to get one crop and then plow it under. Tell the farmers to stop switching crop so much, let the damn plants take root, and use proper soil to help the truckloads of chemicals being sprayed on soil not intended for crops.

    • Dre' says:

      It’s because the aquifers are being drained & even with all the rain we’ve had recently, aren’t being replenished at a quick enough pace.

  11. NeverLetMeDown2 says:

    I assume the 2/3 of farmers not covered by the drought will be paying for these low-cost loans, since prices (and hence their profits) are higher, right?

    /s

  12. cactus jack says:

    Pretty sure WI has hit this list. The corn crop is screwwwwwwwwwed.

    • Danno23 says:

      Southern Illinois is being hit really hard right now. The crops in the lowlands by the rivers aren’t doing too badly, but anything up on higher ground is looking really, really bad. Some farmers are just cutting down the corn stalks for feed since it isn’t growing. From my front door I can see my neighbor’s corn and soybeans are just about dead, and the neighbor that does alfalfa hay has nothing in his field but brown, stunted grass. The hay situation really sucks since that is where we get the hay for the goats. Hopefully we have stockpiled enough from the spring, otherwise it is going to get really expensive.