2012 North American Drought

2012 North American Drought

drought,natural disaster,food prices,crop failure,primary natural disaster areas,federal aid,Drought Monitor,USDA,farm commodities,emergency loans,Vilsack

2012 North American Drought

The 2012 North American Drought is a record-breaking expansion of the 2010–2012 Southern United States drought which began in the spring of 2012, when the record-shattering lack of snow in the United States caused very little meltwater to absorb into the soil. The drought includes most of the US, parts of Mexico, and central and Eastern Canada. It currently covers 80% of the contiguous United States with at least abnormally dry conditions. Out of that 80%, 62% is designated as at least moderate drought conditions. It is affecting a similarly large area as droughts in the 1930s and 1950s but it has not yet been in place as long. The drought has inflicted, and is expected to continue to inflict, catastrophic economic ramifications for the affected states. The drought has exceeded, in most measures, the 1988-1989 North American drought, the most recent comparable drought. It is on track to exceed that drought as the costliest natural disaster in US history.



Crops have been noted to be failing or yielding very low this year due to the drought’s presence in major farming areas. Food prices are expected to rise dramatically because the resulting supply shortfall. Parts of the Mississippi water levels have plummeted, affecting trade and commerce.

1,692 counties across 36 states in the US have been legally declared primary natural disaster areas as of August 17 as the drought continues to cover 62% of the contiguous US. Hundreds of additional counties bordering the primary disaster areas are designated as “contiguous” disaster areas, and are also eligible for federal aid.

The current drought, or any event that affects prices for raw farm commodities, ultimately has a marginal effect on what we pay at the grocery or restaurant. U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack recently signed disaster designations for an additional 218 counties in 12 states as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat. Counties designated today are in the states of Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming. More than half (50.3 percent) of all counties in the United States have been designated disaster areas by USDA in 2012, mainly due to drought.

During the 2012 crop year, the USDA has designated 1,584 unduplicated counties across 32 states as disaster areas — 1,452 due to drought — making all qualified farm operators in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans. The U.S. Drought Monitor indicates that 66 percent of the nation’s hay acreage is in an area experiencing drought, while approximately 73 percent of the nation’s cattle acreage is in an area experiencing drought. During the week ending July 29, USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that U.S. soybeans rated 37 percent very poor to poor, matching the lowest conditions observed during the drought of 1988. NASS also reported that 48 percent of the U.S. corn crop was rated very poor to poor, while 57 percent of the nation’s pastures and rangeland are rated very poor or poor condition.

    Primary counties and corresponding states designated as disaster areas:

  • Arkansas:
    Benton
    Washington
  • Georgia:
    Bartow
    Cherokee
    Cobb
    Haralson
    Paulding
    Polk
  • Illinois:
    Adams
    Bond
    Boone
    Brown
    Calhoun
    Carroll
    Cass
    Champaign
    Christian
    Clark
    Clay
    Clinton
    Coles
    Cumberland
    De Witt
    Douglas
    Edgar
    Effingham
    Fayette
    Ford
    Fulton
    Greene
    Hancock
    Henderson
    Iroquois
    Jasper
    Jefferson
    Jersey
    Jo Daviess
    La Salle
    Lee
    Livingston
    Logan
    Macon
    Macoupin
    Madison
    Marion
    Marshall
    Mason
    McDonough
    McLean
    Menard
    Monroe
    Montgomery
    Morgan
    Moultrie
    Ogle
    Peoria
    Perry
    Piatt
    Randolph
    Rock Island
    Sangamon
    Schuyler
    Scott
    Shelby
    St. Clair
    Stephenson
    Tazewell
    Vermilion
    Warren
    Washington
    Wayne
    Whiteside
    Winnebago
    Woodford
  • Indiana
    Jackson
    Warren
  • Iowa
    Appanoose
    Benton
    Black Hawk
    Boone
    Bremer
    Buchanan
    Butler
    Cedar
    Clayton
    Clinton
    Davis
    Delaware
    Des Moines
    Dubuque
    Fayette
    Grundy
    Hamilton
    Hardin
    Henry
    Iowa
    Jackson
    Jasper
    Jefferson
    Johnson
    Jones
    Keokuk
    Lee
    Linn
    Lucas
    Mahaska
    Marion
    Marshall
    Monroe
    Muscatine
    Polk
    Poweshiek
    Scott
    Story
    Tama
    Van Buren
    Wapello
    Wayne
  • Kansas
    Atchison
    Brown
    Doniphan
    Jackson
  • Mississippi
    Marshall
  • Nebraska
    Antelope
    Arthur
    Banner
    Blaine
    Brown
    Buffalo
    Box Butte
    Cedar
    Chase
    Cherry
    Cheyenne
    Dawes
    Dawson
    Deuel
    Dixon
    Franklin
    Garden
    Garfield
    Gosper
    Grant
    Hall
    Harlan
    Holt
    Hooker
    Kearney
    Keith
    Keya Paha
    Kimball
    Knox
    Lincoln
    Logan
    Loup
    Madison
    McPherson
    Morrill
    Perkins
    Phelps
    Pierce
    Platte
    Rock
    Scotts Bluff
    Sheridan
    Sioux
    Stanton
    Thomas
    Wayne
    Wheeler
  • Oklahoma
    Adair
    Cherokee
    Delaware
    Haskell
    Mayes
    McIntosh
    Muskogee
    Okmulgee
    Rogers
    Sequoyah
    Tulsa
    Wagoner
  • South Dakota
    Bennett
    Bon Homme
    Butte
    Charles Mix
    Clay
    Custer
    Davison
    Douglas
    Fall River
    Gregory
    Haakon
    Hanson
    Hutchinson
    Jackson
    Lawrence
    Lincoln
    McCook
    Meade
    Pennington
    Shannon
    Todd
    Tripp
    Turner
    Union
    Yankton
  • Tennessee
    Fayette
    Haywood
    Lauderdale
  • Wyoming
    Albany
    Campbell
    Converse
    Crook
    Goshen
    Niobrara
    Platte
    Weston

2012 North American Drought

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