2012 & Beyond: Drought Conditions Expected Through 2013

Drought conditions had a devastating impact on farmers in 2012, especially in the Midwest. There may be more of the same in 2013.
2012 & Beyond: Drought Conditions Expected Through 2013
(John Moore/Getty Images)
Mary Silver

In 2012, the worst drought in 25 years caused a crisis for farmers not only because of direct crop failures, but also because feed and irrigation costs rose, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ranchers had to cull their herds because they could not afford to feed the animals. Corn and soybean crops in the Midwest shrank, and a ripple effect on food prices will be evident in 2013. Beef, pork, and milk prices will rise because grain prices for feed will rise.

More than half—56 percent—of the continental United States was in drought in 2012, making it the worst drought in 25 years, according to the National Weather Service (NWS). It was the largest area of the nation to be in drought since the U.S. Drought Monitor began keeping records 12 years ago.

According to the NWS, drought will persist or intensify over most of the country into 2013.

The middle of the country will continue to endure drier-than-normal conditions at least until spring. Droughts in Hawaii, Florida, and Georgia are also predicted to continue or worsen, according to NWS.

Winter storms usually reduce drought, and some states are expected to get relief.

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Mary Silver writes columns, grows herbs, hikes, and admires the sky. She likes critters, and thinks the best part of being a journalist is learning new stuff all the time. She has a Masters from Emory University, serves on the board of the Georgia chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and belongs to the Association of Health Care Journalists.