NPR

Widespread Drought Across U.S. Stokes Fears About A Repeat Of 2012's Wrath

If rainfall doesn't come soon, it could cost billions in devastation — a difficult fallout considering the USDA expects farmers' incomes to hit a 12-year low even if crop yields stay high.
In 2012, record heat throughout the U.S. farm belt curtailed crop production like this rotting corn on a farm in Bruceville, Ind. Farmers are now worried that the lack of rainfall this year could start the cycle over again. Source: Saul Loeb

Western Illinois might be close to the Mississippi and Illinois rivers, but it's the driest part of the state this year.

"We really haven't really had any measurable rain since the middle of October," says Ken Schafer, who farms winter wheat, corn and soybeans in Jerseyville. "I dug some post-holes this winter, and it's just dust."

His farm is in an area that the considers "severe." Some of the nation's worst areas of drought are in southwest Kansas, much of Oklahoma and a slice of Missouri. But several states are in some sort of drought, from Illinois to California,

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