Well, who needs Nebraska anyway, right?
Not so fast; Kansas stands at 96.4% of the state in a condition of Severe Drought. New Mexico comes in third at 89.9%. Colorado is not far behind with 89.0%. South Dakota has 86.3% of the state suffering Severe Drought. Wyoming ranks next with 83.7% and Oklahoma comes in at 83.2% of the state under Severe Drought.
Those are the top 7 states when it comes to current drought conditions in the U.S. Unfortunately, those states are also some of the most productive agriculture regions of the U.S. But this year, the outlook for ag output is grim.
The USDA already declared a large portion of the nation’s winter wheat belt, from Texas to North Dakota, as a disaster area due to the drought. In Wyoming, ranchers have lost about half their pasture grass and hay production, causing feed shortages and driving up the price of livestock.
But if you’re not a farmer or rancher, why should you care? It’s not your problem, right?
In the states with Severe Drought conditions, the USDA has identified large areas of the worst-off states as suffering Exceptional Drought (which is even worse than Severe Drought). More than 70% of the state of Nebraska is now classified as being under a condition of Exceptional Drought.
The prospect this year is for widespread crop and pasture losses, water shortages in reservoirs, failure of streams and wells, all of which will create water emergencies across a large portion of the country.
But the local water emergencies are only the beginning. With massive crop and livestock losses, the price of food will escalate. If it gets bad enough, it won’t be just the price we’re worried about but the availability of food as well.
According to USDA meteorologist and Drought Monitor team member, Brad Rippey, “You really need to go back to the 1950s to find a drought that lasted and occupied at least as much territory.”
In the 1950s, the population of the United States was much lower than it is today. Now there are many more mouths to feed. Worse yet, much of today’s farmland has been unwisely dedicated to the growing of corn for ethanol production. So there could be serious food shortages as a result of the drought. And with the failure of the ethanol corn crop, what do you think will happen to the price of gasoline?
So, what can you do about it? How do you go about surviving a severe drought? Here are the some points:
- You can’t eat money, so start trading in some of your money for something you can eat.
- Start stocking up now – don’t wait, because the prices are only going to rise, or the food will become unavailable at any price.
- Organize your food storage by type and by date. That way you can see at a glance what you have and when to cycle it into your daily food routine.
- Use your stored food on a daily basis, then replace what you have consumed. Rotate the supply, eating the older stuff first.
- Don’t go nuts in a panic. Shop with a plan — buy a few extras of everything and stash the spares in your food storage area.
- Figure out what you normally eat, and how much it takes to feed your family. That will guide you as to how much and what to buy.
- Don’t buy junk — focus on food that provides real nutrition and energy.
- Don’t stock up on foods you don’t know how to prepare, or don’t like, or have never eaten before. Stock up on foods you normally eat.
- It’s best to store food in a cool, dark place (a closet, under the bed, on a shelf in the basement, etc.)
Contrary to what the government would have you believe, it’s not their job to save you. Do yourself and everyone around you a favor, and be prepared to take care of yourself.