The U.S. is split in half on drought levels

The latest drought monitor was released today. It shows one half of the U.S. is doing well while the other half continues to struggle.

There was some continued improvement across the Pacific Northwest and the Northern Plains with significant snowfall across the Northern Great Basin, the northern Rockies, and the Cascades. The recent snowstorms also helped delay any further deterioration of an already shallow snowpack in California, which is only 22 percent of normal. The other half of the country remains in good condition, but the southwest continued its record dry spell.

USDA Meteorologist, Brad Rippey, says the drought has already plagued pastures, rangelands, and winter grains in the Southern Plains, but now summer crops are feeling the impact. The crops depend on the typical spring rains and they are not getting that this year. Instead, they are experiencing record heat.

“Starting on Saturday, we saw temperatures reach 107 degrees in communities like Abilene and San Angelo. Abilene also hit 107 on Sunday and then 103 degrees on Monday. All three of those temperatures setting records for the date.”

Tony St. James, who is a regular guest on the Market Day Report and a farm broadcaster out of the Lonestar state, says livestock are not faring well either, especially as wildfires have ripped through the area.

“We’ve lost over 400 livestock, 400 head of cattle to fires across the region, and it has resulted in over 23 million dollars in loss estimates and that’s a fence, lost grazing value, and again the death of livestock. So it’s been a tough situation.”

He says farmers and ranchers really need mother nature to come through.

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