With over 70% of the American West, Southwest and Northern Plains categorized in D3 (severe) drought or higher since June, Ameican Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) has designed and distributed a second round of its Assessing Western Drought Conditions survey to evaluate drought’s continued impact on farm and ranch businesses.
The 11 states in Farm Bureau’s Western region, plus the Dakotas and Minnesota, are vital to the U.S. agricultural sector, supporting one-third, or $128 billion, of total U.S. agricultural production by value. This includes over 70% of vegetables, fruits and tree nut production by value. Continued drought conditions put production of these commodities at risk.
To further quantify some ground-level drought impacts, AFBF’s second Assessing Western Drought Conditions Survey was distributed between Sep. 13 and Oct. 18 to state and county Farm Bureau leaders, staff, and farmer and rancher members in the affected states.
Image: American Farm Bureau Federation
Crop producers have not been spared. Orchard tree and multi-year crop removal was common in states with higher fruit and tree nut production. Forty-one percent of producers from California and a third of producers from Arizona reported destruction of multi-year crops as prevalent or higher in their area. For some nurseries, customers have put orders of plants on hold or even cancelled orders due to water shortages in their area.