drought

Widespread drought in East Africa brings starvation risk

Up to 20 million people in drought-struck parts of Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia could face acute food insecurity by September as livestock and crops struggle to survive, said 14 humanitarian and meteorological agencies. Four rainy seasons in a row have failed, a streak not seen in 40 years, and forecasts say there is a concrete risk that the October, November and December rains could fail, too.

As historic drought worsens, Californians increase water use

So far, 2022 is California’s driest year on record — but that hasn’t stopped residents from watering their lawns. According to the state’s Department of Water Resources, Californians used almost 19 percent more water last March than they did in March two years ago, despite the state’s deepening drought and increasingly strapped reservoirs. Residents also used more water last March than they have in any March since 2015. (No paywall)

Scant rainfall imperils wheat in southwestern Kansas

Kansas grows one out of every six bushels of wheat harvested in the United States and often leads the nation in wheat production. But in several counties in the southwestern corner of the state, where the drought is at its worst, "very little wheat will make it to harvest," said the farmer-funded organization Kansas Wheat on Monday, pointing to arid conditions and "vicious" winter winds.

‘The truth is California does not have enough water’

California’s San Joaquin Valley is getting drier, hotter and more polluted as climate change intensifies, and its communities will need to embrace more equitable agricultural strategies in order to survive, according to local experts and political leaders.(No paywall)

USDA unveils disaster aid for livestock producers

Livestock producers will receive at least $577 million in disaster payments to offset forage losses due to severe drought or wildfires last year, said the Agriculture Department on Thursday.

Report: Drought drained $1.2 billion from California ag in 2021

Drought cost California’s agricultural sector $1.2 billion and 8,750 full- and part-time jobs last year, according to a new report prepared for the state’s Department of Food and Agriculture. It is the  latest evidence that climate change is upending the country’s most productive agricultural region. 

As drought conditions worsen, California braces for ‘worst-case scenario’

Some of California’s agricultural areas are bracing for water cuts later this year after the chair of the state’s Water Resources Control Board said escalating drought conditions will require the state to prepare for the “worst-case scenario.”

Drought worsens in wheat-growing Plains

The long-running drought that covers more than half of the continental United States — mostly west of the Mississippi — worsened in the central and southern Plains last week, the heart of U.S. winter wheat production, said the government's Drought Monitor on Thursday. In Kansas, the No. 1 winter wheat state, 31 percent of the crop was rated as being in poor or very poor condition.

Despite heavy rain and snow, California braces for another dry year

An onslaught of rain and snow has pulled most of California out of exceptional drought, but experts warn that the state’s dry spell is far from over. Officials issued emergency water regulations this week — including a controversial exemption for agriculture — even as the northern part of the state braced for possible flooding from winter storms.(No paywall)

As drought worsens, California will halt nearly all water deliveries in 2022

In response to the West’s historic drought, California officials warned on Wednesday that cities and farms won’t get any water from the State Water Project next year unless it’s an emergency. The unprecedented decision will affect 27 million residents and 750,000 acres of farmland. Unless a rainy winter offers a reprieve, officials say the state’s urban residents should also brace for mandatory water cuts.

Deluge of rain won’t end California farmers’ water woes

After a near-record year of drought, California received some relief this week from torrential rains, the result of an atmospheric river hitting a bomb cyclone. The storms snuffed out the Dixie Fire, which has been burning in the northern Sierras since July, and put an end to Northern California’s grueling fire season. What the rains didn't do was end the drought — or the water restrictions faced by many of the state's farmers. (No paywall)

‘State of emergency’ in drought-hit U.S. forests

The government needs to quicken the pace of its fuel reduction work in public forests at the same time that it marshals enough crews to fight wildfires, said Forest Service chief Randy Moore at a House hearing on Wednesday. "The sobering takeaway: America's forests are in a state of emergency, and it's time to treat them like one."

Drought imperils Afghanistan grain and livestock

At the same time the Taliban are taking control of Afghanistan, its farmers and herders, the backbone of the nation's economy, are hit by an ever-worsening drought, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization. The wheat crop is 15 percent below average while livestock herders may have to sell their animals because of high feed costs.

Drought scorches U.S. corn, soy, and wheat crops

U.S. farmers will reap two of their largest-ever corn and soybean crops, the first step to assuring an abundant food supply, the government said on Thursday, despite drought damage in the northern Plains and upper Midwest. The wheat crop, meanwhile, will be the smallest in 19 years.

As globe warms, risk of agricultural drought rises, says climate report

Without immediate and broad-scale action to limit greenhouse gas emissions, global warming almost certainly will result in heat waves, changes in rainfall patterns and agricultural droughts, said a report by the UN climate change panel on Monday. Agricultural and ecological droughts were likely …

USDA puts $15 million into drought relief for Klamath basin farmers

The Klamath Drought Response Agency was awarded a $15 million grant by the USDA to reduce demand for irrigation water in Klamath River basin of southern Oregon and Northern California. The money “will assist in allowing the limited amount of water to be used for practices that are vital to …

Wheat crop withers in northern Plains, Pacific Northwest

The wheat harvest in the northern Plains and Pacific Northwest will be 40 percent smaller than last year due to severe drought, said the USDA on Monday. The declines in durum and spring wheat were so great they would reduce overall U.S. wheat production, dominated by winter wheat, by 8 percent …

USDA adds 101 counties to drought disaster list

In its largest set of declarations since mid-May, the USDA designated 101 counties in the Midwest and West as natural disaster areas due to drought. The designations make farmers and ranchers eligible for USDA emergency loans.

Crop insurance should be a starting point for 2023 farm bill, say farmers

Farmers from Georgia to California told a House Agriculture subcommittee on Wednesday that the foundation of the 2023 farm bill should be the taxpayer-subsidized crop insurance system. They also expressed interest in the creation of a standby disaster relief fund.

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