Unusually dry, or worse, in half of Midwest

Large swaths of Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio are abnormally dry and most of Michigan is in moderate drought due to limited spring precipitation, said the weekly Drought Monitor on Thursday. Arid conditions covered 48 percent of the Midwest, the heart of U.S. corn and soybean production.

White House creates drought relief working group

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack were named Wednesday to be co-chairs of a Biden administration working group charged with addressing worsening drought conditions in the western half of the nation.

As drought limits irrigation in Klamath Basin, feds offer aid

Growers in the Klamath Basin, in the Pacific Northwest, will receive the smallest amount of water ever from the federal government due to unrelenting drought, said the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation on Wednesday. The water will be available around June 1, weeks later than usual.

Drought in Plains a concern for U.S. corn and soy crops

Drought in the northern Plains, increasingly important in corn and soybean production despite the region’s prominence as a wheat-growing region, may foil expectations of near-record U.S. corn and soybean harvests. North Dakota and South Dakota are parched as the planting season begins, …

After Covid’s chill, a hot recovery is at hand

The U.S. economy could grow at its fastest rate — 7 percent — in nearly four decades, with the farm sector sharing in the energetic recovery from the pandemic, said CoBank on Thursday. "Many in the agricultural industry are experiencing the best market conditions since 2013," said the lender in a quarterly assessment of the sector.

Book: Climate change and the looming crisis in U.S. food production

In his new book Perilous Bounty, Tom Philpott takes a deep look at perhaps the two most important farming regions in the country, California and the Midwest, and finds that both face what might be called an under-appreciated existential crisis. In California, recently engulfed in wildfires, the …

Ancient Southwest farming cultures faced extreme drought. Now it’s back.

Centuries ago, the Zuni people in the arid Southwest region of the United States developed a sophisticated farming culture, channeling water towards crops and breeding climate resilient seeds, reports Tim Folger, in FERN's latest story, produced with The Weather Channel. But that culture was also likely wiped out by a rare 50-year megadrought that may now be underway again in the West. (No paywall)

Increased risk of spring flooding in central and southeastern states

Major to moderate flooding is likely this spring from the northern Plains southward to the Gulf Coast, with the greatest risk in the upper and middle Mississippi River basin, the Missouri River basin, and the Red River of the North, said NOAA on Thursday.

U.S. corn crop could be smallest since 2012 drought

Based on surveys conducted ahead of USDA reports due for release today, analysts say corn plantings will total 86.7 to 87 million acres after a rainy and cold spring. That would be well below the 92.8 million acres that farmers had planned to seed.