Farm Bureau survey shows impact of drought on US agriculture

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An AFBF survey shows that the drought is hitting American agriculture hard. Chad Smith has more on felt impacts on the ground.

Black-smith: The American Farm Bureau Federation distributed a third drought impact survey in June to its members in 15 western US states. members.

Bite: The survey included several demographic questions to distinguish state affiliation and had sections on crop-specific factors, livestock-related factors, and general access to water. In the end, we got over 650 responses from all 15 states, and then we got a whole bunch of data on the operational level changes farmers and ranchers were making to deal with the drought.

Black-smith: Key findings from the survey show that farmers continue to struggle with severe drought conditions.

Bite: Respondents expect their farm income to be down 38% from average due to the drought. Seventy-four percent reported an expected reduction in crops and yields, 66 reported the liquidation of parts of their livestock herd or herd, and 73 percent reported a reduction in surface water deliveries due to drought conditions. Many more farmers were working under crops and clearing orchards compared to last year, and of those who reduced their herd size last year, we continue to liquidate half.

Black-smith: He says communicating the impact of drought on agriculture is critical to the conversation surrounding effective drought mitigation efforts.

Bite: Many data on the effects of drought are often isolated, not uniform across the country, or generally difficult to obtain. Thus, at the AFBF, we recognize the lack of data and have decided to conduct our own survey. This is the third time the drought has persisted, and these data provide useful insights into the operational-level obstacles farmers and herders are facing in coping with this drought. This is helpful in our communication efforts.

Black-smith: Chad Smith, Washington.

Read the full survey results here.

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