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Drought Covers One-Third Of U.S. Counties, The Largest Agricultural Disaster Area Ever Declared

Joseph Romm's picture
American Progress
  • Member since 2018
  • 1,651 items added with 336,998 views
  • Jul 13, 2012

The U.S. Agriculture Department has issued a natural disaster declaration for more than 1,000 U.S. counties facing severe drought. This disaster declaration is the largest ever from the Agriculture Department and includes one-third of counties and spans 26 states. Some 53 percent of the Midwest is facing moderate or severe drought, but areas beyond the drought’s borders could pay higher world grain prices, due to a poor harvest.

This disaster declaration makes farmers eligible for disaster assistance, but lawmakers will continue to remain silent on the root cause: Climate change. The year of record heat isn’t a chance occurrence, but comes from a climate system on steroids, “juiced” by manmade greenhouse gas emissions.

More than one-third of U.S. counties are facing severe drought.

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Patrick Sullivan's picture
Patrick Sullivan on Jul 14, 2012

I hope that You have shown this map to the Oil & Gas Advocates.

In Australia, they always said that the Effects of Climate Change would be that the Latitudes could be moved some 200kms = USA Residents = 120miles towards the that Hemisphere's Pole. So, perhaps Minnesota Farmers will be growing Cotton some day if the Oil and Gas People get their way.

Oil and Gas say: "It is all about Jobs!" They are searching for someway to save Fossil Fuels from the necessary Fate... History will judge the O&G Industry harshly as: Protected, biased, and Cartel-ed.

The decline of O&G will be welcomed.

Yours sincerely


Charles Weber's picture
Charles Weber on Jul 19, 2012

       I see no reason why many climate water problems can not be much ameliorated by intelligent management of water both before and after the water reaches the soil, including pumping it into water tables through large, clean gravel filled deep holes. Rhode Island pumps whole rivers into the ocean during a flood, so the pumps already exist. I suspect that such a technique could be used to flush salt or poisons out of ground water also if designed right.

       Our management of water is very important. There is no reason why we should allow huge volumes of water to flop down and flow unimpeded across farms down stream, destroying them and then into the ocean, while adjacent areas shrivel up by drought. There are huge pumps that can easily prevent this. Allowing river water to flow into the ocean from any country relying on ground water is not very intelligent either.

        See a short discussion inside the URL below.

        Increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide is undoubtedly increasing climate warmth. However I suspect that also an equally great or greater affect on warmth is the baring of soil by increase in annual crop acreage, roads, buildings, grazing, and desertification currently, especially in the tropics and subtropics. This may be a considerable part of the reason why the southwestern USA tends to be warmer than the southeast. You may see an article that briefly discusses this in more detail in  . If you see any possible improvement or errors, please let me know.

       I suspect that shrubs in the Arctic have the opposite affect.

Patrick Sullivan's picture
Patrick Sullivan on Jul 20, 2012

In science and the environment, We all must agree that there are many factors and thus many results. Without a doubt the inceases in overall development have played a part in the overall results of the Global Report Card. To My surprise, We are finding Hydrocarbon Producers, Oil, Gas, and Coal are debating Climate Change. This is a matter for Science, not for CEOs and others with vested interests.

Agriculture is often Mono Culture, this leads to the Soils being exposed to Sunlight in the non growning period of the year. Some of these soils were protected by foliage: forest, hayed-off grasses, or evergreens. An Australian wrote a book: "Future Eaters". European Agriculture pressure on a previous land of indegious people/aboriginal tribes, previously hunters and gathers. Agriculture by it's nature will change the environment in some sites more than others.

Everyone is looking to blame someone, some system changers - Oil, Gas, and Coal. What is most important is that We recognize the seriousness, cease the unproductive activities, and change the blame game to making those responsible for Social Engineering = Car Culture and lack of Public Transport Solutions. 

My Daughters always say, that Mother Nature is seeking her Balance whenever we have a natural disaster. Perhaps, We need to pay attention to young people, and follow their feelings that We are not fair with Mother Nature - whoever You conceive her to be.

Right now, I watch the news in China about the Weather in the USA - 42 Degrees C in Oklahoma... Who can We blame? Custodians of our Planet. Watch the BBC Special of Around the World in 60 Minutes, from the International Space Station. This will change Your Bias in regard to man's part in the changing environment, because it is happening to fast.

I suggest: Breathe better air by, Walking, Riding a Bike, taking a Bus, getting on the Subway or a Train, buying an EV, installing Energy Savings Solutions, share with friends what is happening to Our World ... When? NOW.

Yours sincerely

Patrick Sullivan


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