July 18th, 2012
12:29 PM ET

USDA says 39 more counties are drought disaster areas

The USDA has designated 39 additional counties in eight states as primary natural disaster areas due to damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat, CNN's Brianna Keilar reports.

During the 2012 crop year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 1,297 counties across 29 states as disaster areas, making all qualified farm operators in the areas eligible for low-interest emergency loans.

Worst drought since '50s may cost us all

The U.S. is facing the largest drought since the 1950s, the National Climatic Data Center reported Monday, saying that about 55% of the country was in at least moderate short-term drought in June for the first time since December 1956, when 58% of the country was in a moderate to extreme drought.

The hot, dry weather in June, which ranked as the third-driest month nationally in at least 118 years, according to the center, made the problem worse.

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soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. plenty

    A more efficient crop for ethanol is sugar cane. It's bio-efficiency is much greater than corn. The use of corn for ethanol is barely a break even proposition.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. 1olddude

    I wonder how many farmers affected by this are Republican and if they're going to clamor for aid (money and otherwise) from the federal government. Should be interesting to find out.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • cf

      In my state, all of them.

      July 18, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Alan

    it continues to amaze me that we can build oil piplines and gaslines from Alaska and Canada but we can't build pipelines to distribute water around our own country

    July 18, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • User

      And from where would you supply that water smart ass

      July 18, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • oscar Lopez

      I couldn't agree more with Alan!!! There are states where there is so much rain that they are flooding and others that are so dry the crops are dying. Why can't we – in the 21st century – have some kind of system to channel water from one state to the another? Romans were doing this thousands of years ago.

      July 18, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • kreamowheat

      Part of the problem isnt transporting the water, thats easy. its distributing it over the literally thousands of square miles affected by drought. You would have to irrigate them weekly. Its not like oil that flows to one spot, is refined onsite, then transported in small tankers to a station. It would take 1 thousand tankers to water some of the large midwest farms and you would have to do that every week.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      Alan, it will take 10 years to get EPA approval. Then there will be the court fights form the Environmental organizations. Take a look at the Tombstone water line fiasco.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Jackson, everything you might have said that made any sense was just ousted by your ugly bigoted statement.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • conoclast

      Think about that for just a minute. Where would they get the water-from Lake Michigan maybe? And then there's the little problem of distribution. You're looking at a trillion-dollar public works project! Think the GOP would stand for it?

      July 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • jeni ct

      Hmmmm.....I love how User resorts to name calling on the basis of perception. That's a mature, logical way to debate.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeb

      I'm sure that people here at home and around the world who are suffering from these shifts in climate and their disastrous effects, take great comfort in the fact that Republicans continue to be in total denial of global warming and it's catastrophic consequences.

      At no time in human history have we had more forewarning of an approaching environmental disaster and more opportunity to stop it.

      God doesn't save fools from the consequences of their own stupidity.

      This is only just beginning.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Thermion7

      I think it's funny that people say, "why dont we have a 'system of aqueducts' to transport water to the dry farmland?",
      We do. It's called Irrigation, and its managed by the department of interior, bereau of reclamation. From their sources and reservoirs, they provide 1 in 5 farmers in the west with irrigation, and 31 million people with municipal water, water for hydroelectric generation, water to maintain healthy fish stocks for the fisheries business, maintain waterlevels for safe river traffic... and maintain a flow that maintains a health river environment for wildlife. The population is big... and the demands on the water are tight... The bottom line is... during these huge droughts... there just isnt enough water to irrigate the 10 million acres of farmland... and meet all of the other demands we put on our supply of water.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  4. MIchele

    All Republicans affected will, of course, be turning down any disaster relief dollars. Said dollars being socialist hand outs which only someone too lazy to work would lay claim to. Also, being such dedicated non-welfare types, they will have plenty in the way of savings to carry them through.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • devosays

      disaster relief is not socialist, no republican thinks that you fool.... cell phone, food, pay, electricity relief month after month for years is not relief, it is socialism

      July 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian G

      Exactly. Those red states that are truly in the red, simply reach out to the Koch Brothers, Donald Trump, or Mitt Romney. I am sure they will be more than willing to help you out.

      July 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin3g

      Michelle is absolutely correct. Giving taxpayer money to drought stricken farmers is the very definition of Socialism. Its a transfer of wealth from one group of people (those with jobs still paying taxes) to another group of people (those who have been ruined financially because of the drought). Likewise, when someone needs an operation that no working person could afford, and they are given taxpayer money for the operation, that's Socialism. Socialism is moral and fair, and its the correct thing to do. But let's call it what it is - Socialism.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • o bamma

      thanks for making the drought about politics.....so original

      July 18, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Aid? They shouldn't get any-no one should. This may be the warmest summer in some plus years, but the trend has been going this way for at least 5 years. Farmers should have already invested in irrigation related systems (some have).

      July 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      There are always idiots like you out there who want to politicize the suffering of others. Can't you just keep your trap shut or just comment on how you have a solution to a problem facing individuals accross all political parties. If you can't go to the political blogs and voice your ignorance.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |

    If you are wondeirng why this is happening, go to youtube and search a Prophet name TB Joshua Prophecy 2012. God said there will be a drought in 2012 all around the world...ya ya that also includeds The United States of America. So as a Believer of Jesus Christ, I know what my God says will happen ...WILL HAPPEN! ... Become a believer today and YOU WILL SURVIVE NOT JUST THIS BUT ANY DROUGHT!...all Blessings come from God.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  6. CA Liberal

    These farmers depend on a stable climate. That is, rain regular and on time. Global warming is destabilizing the climate. We're getting into more radical climate. Radical drought, radical wet, bigger storms, changing patterns. This isn't 10 years from now. We are there now. Our choice now is how far down this road do we want to go.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • devosays

      our choice? my choice is to let climate change, it will forever and there is nothing man can do to stop it... you liberals think your smarter than God and Mother Nature... lmao

      July 18, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bruce

    The only thing we can do is PRAY for the drought to end soon

    July 18, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Boomer in Mo

    South of the Missouri river, in Missouri, there is plenty of water underground if you can afford to pump it up. Right now, our northern Ozarks aquifer has dropped about three feet since May. Not much but if it drops 15-20 feet, my 160 foot deep well might go dry. Most of our neighors, with newer wells, have gone 300-500 feet. I really don't want to spend $10,000 on a new well but might have no choice if the drought continues into next yar. In north MO they rely on surface water. When it does not rain, you ain't got water. Far southwest Mo has the same problem. Water is the new oil. Fresh, non-salt water from underground is getting harder and harder to find. The Ogallala aquifer, which supplies eight states, is prehistoric water (it takes thousands of years to recharge) and will be dry within a few decades. Then what do you do?

    July 18, 2012 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  9. joe

    Welcome to the new normal.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. nagrad

    But don't worry folks, global warming/climate change is a myth! This is good for the world. Really. Believe it because we told you to, not because of what you're seeing.

    July 18, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Bob

    Did anyone else notice that in the first picture, the grass on both sides of the road a lush and green?

    July 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Red Velvet Pancake

      Yes, I did notice that. That makes me very curious.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  12. ryan

    wait, i thought romney said entrepreneurs don't need government to be successful. let the farmers just deal with it. the free market will make it rain.

    July 18, 2012 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Southern mom

      What Romney said was, You don't need the the government to help you out, just go ask your parents for the money.

      July 18, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Murph

    II think that it is great that the federal government is there to bail these farmers out to some degree. But I also think that when times are good for the farmers that they contribute to some type of disaster fund. We need to either stop all the out-flows of money or at least insist they are offset by re-payments!

    July 18, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      i think those are called taxes which also pay for 911 calls, police, and fire departments for the rest of us, oh and the food that farmers provide all of us unless you've got a large enough garden and and animals to eat.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Scott

      The "bailouts" are loans. The implications is that they would be paid back.

      July 18, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. John

    Keep deforesting this planet earth, corporations (people) don't have the intelligence of the damage that they doing to the nature, This is just the beginning, just check around the world how the pattern of wether have being change very drastic. But so many people never believe in the movie THE INCONVENIENT THRUE. Also if Shell drill in Alaska is going to be another big problem, and all, because the greedy for more $$$$$$$$$$$. thanks.

    July 18, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • ryan

      the planet will survive despite what we do to it, it's just too bad that we'll wipe out most of the species and plant life before we get to destroying ourseleves. and in the end it's all going to finish with a big fireball as we fall into a dying sun, so the only hope for us is to find a way to get out of here and destroy more worlds. oh wait, we're cutting nasa to lower taxes so yeah, we're screwed anyway unless the charitable 1% builds us all a big spaceship. if romney can build an elevator garage, can he build us a spaceship? Oh wait, he's got a one way mormon ticket to running another planet anyway. yep, the rest of us are screwed.

      July 18, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. David

    As long as it is "paid" for who cares if we give them money? No one cares if the prices of food increases 30% do they?

    July 18, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
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