August 1st, 2012
12:10 PM ET

More than half of U.S. counties now disaster zones due to drought, officials say

More than half of all U.S. counties have been designated disaster zones, the Department of Agriculture reported Wednesday, blaming excessive heat and a devastating drought that's spread across the Corn Belt and is contributing to rising food prices.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday declared disaster zone designations for an additional 218 counties in 12 states because of damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat.

The states are Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming.

Nearly three-quarters of the nation's cattle acreage is inside a region hit by drought, as is about two-thirds of the country's hay acreage, the agency reported.

USDA researchers added that an average of 37% of the nation's soybeans were last week ranked from very poor to poor, the lowest quality recorded since a massive drought in 1988.

More on the drought

Food prices climbing

Corn prices hit record as crops shrivel

Opinion: Extreme weather and a changing climate

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Filed under: U.S. • Weather
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Philip

    This new kind of drought...from where did it come?
    Citizens the world over have been measureing how long it takes a certains sized pan of water to evaporate. (pan-evap rate) For over 100 years the exact amount of time it takes water to evaporate has been carefully meaured.
    And the results are in: for over 100 years, it has been taking water longer and longer amounts of time to evaporate. Rain that used to fall on Colorado, for example, now falls on the Pacific Ocean due to ground water evaporating more slowly.
    Water in the shade of a tree evaporates slower than water in direct sunlight. Mankinds pollution is the shade tree.
    Global climate change is natural and has happpened before. What isn't natural is mans greedy polluting of earths atmosphere that has taken a slow and natural CLIMATE change and turned it into one with violent WEATHER extremes.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Philip

    Evaporating water is the engine that drives our weather, NOT our climate.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Obama Mama

    They should make feed for the cattle and plant a new crop.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Hi, Mama.
      Without rain, the new crop would fail, also.
      We've been okay where I'm at, but unfortunately, most of the farms that used to here have given way to subdivisions.

      August 1, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Obama Mama

    Hello banasy -It is suppose to rain here this weekend, The temp is suppose to be a friget 97 degrees, soooooo much better than the 106 -108 degrees of late. It is the extreme here.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • banasy©

      Wow, Mama, get your coat out, lol.
      It's *finally* temperate fot this time of year, here; it IS August, so....

      August 1, 2012 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Philip

    Even with these manmade droughts, our earth produces about 5 times more food than we humans require for survival. The problem isn't our changed weather. The problem is how we go-about distributing food.
    Nations that are not deep in debt do not recieve as much food as nations deep in debt and "struggling" with a nationwide obesity epidemic. Howso? The nation with the biggest debt also happens to be the nation with the mightiest military. Who would even do business with America unless at gunpoint? (not counting those like US who also raype Africa...burn her oil and wear her diamonds as she starves and "he" go fat)

    August 1, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. chrissy


    August 1, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Obama Mama

    @Philip- True. You should see what we are doing to Guam. I saw a story on the Dan Rather news show. We are not the best of people to them and they like us. The US wants to dredge the 79 acre coral eco system, that is sustaining coral and creatures only found there.
    Hi chrissy.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Philip

    Imagine a world where food is distributed evenly, with not one being allowed to finance obesity.
    What a wonderful world this will be, and soon. I see a world where those ruining this earth are themselves brought to ruin. Who wouldn't want this unless they were obese and lazy or rich from the status quo?
    Nothing can stop this earth from becoming what it was purposed to be: A warm Paradise filled with wholesome and honest individuals...each one healthy, each one happy.
    I see my glass half-full. Others who fear global climate change because of this inconvenient weather, half-empty.
    The sky is falling! they claim.

    August 1, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. chrissy

    Hello mama! How are you? And im just waiting for the rest of the spin on this story. Waiting to see if those flying saucers came and sucked all the moisture out of the atmosphere or some other nonsense. Im sure it will all tie in some how. Lmao.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. El Jardinero

    I live in North Carolina and we've had it pretty good here compared to the midwest. The corn in our garden had some worms in it but other than that it hasn't been all that bad. But from the border with South Carolina southward and from about Arkansas westward they're suffering. People need to start growing a garden and storing up food because the conventional food supply could become scarce like during the great depression and dust bowl. Take care folks.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Obama Mama

    No my sky is not falling, just my tomato plants if I don't water
    If we do as you speak of Philip, and noone can be chubby, isn't that rationing and socialism? Right?
    Difference is what makes us, our quarks, our individual strife, love, dislikes, it is also what makes us think out of the box. A mariad of views to pick the best of and for us.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Obama Mama

    @Dave – Bushs' clean air act was actually a polution act against the enviorment. He also refused to sign the world act to pledge clean air as did China.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Obama Mama

    @chrissy- I think that would be a stretch, but crop circles could tie it in.
    @philip- I do not believe you have ever explained the crop circles. Wind or jewish women?

    August 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  14. dazzle ©

    @banasy and @mama, How are you today? I'm not touching that (lmao) but the weather here is perfect. Google Mt Lemmon, it's a beautiful place, high elevation, and I actually wore a sweater and a skull cap when we were out and about this morning. The only crops in Az are cotton and pecans but its the desert so there's always a drought here. Have a wonderful day. I'll be back to the normal world tonight and then complain about the weather.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama Mama

      Hi Dazzle. The day is great but no need for a skull Maybe a turbin. I have suggested the Moringa tree for AZ. as this tree is drought proof and has many uses. Hope to catch you later, Scottish.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Courtney

    This could be seen as a good thing seeing as corn syrup is practically everything even things that are not sweet hence the reason this country has a obesity problem. If the price of the garbage processed food goes up hopefully people will won't buy the junk. And in turn better their health.

    August 1, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Obama Mama

      I think the dry weather has also curbed the mosquito population this year, less water for them to breed.

      August 1, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
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