Map from the U.S. Drought Monitor showing drought intensity in the United States, August 19, 2014. [yellow=dry, orange=severe, red=extreme]. Source:


All areas in the United States are at risk of drought. A prolonged drought can have a serious impact on agricultural communities, affecting crops, livestock and families dependent on these commodities. The greatest impact from drought is of course the decrease in water supplies. This can result in crop loss and reduce crop and forage growth and availability.

The impact on livestock is equally devastating, and can result in animal deaths from limited water supplies or feed availability. Plants can also concentrate toxins under drought conditions, making them more lethal to livestock. Drought conditions can also increase the level of disease and insect infestations for plants and livestock.

The dry conditions can also lead to wind erosion of top soil, or increase the risk for fire hazards, and given decreased water sources, can result in devastating losses. Families and businesses can also be impacted by limited or restricted water sources during drought situations.

The following resources will help you prepare and protect your family, farm, livestock and crops during drought situations.

Drought Web Resources

Climate Prediction Center: Drought Information
Website with latest assessments and seasonal outlooks for drought situations in the U.S.
National Weather Service (NOAA NWS)
Drought for Kids
Website for kids with a general definition of drought and how to prevent it.
National Drought Mitigation Center
Drought Information
Website providing drought resources for the home, family, farm and ranch.
North Dakota State University Extension Service
Drought Preparedness and Water Conservation
Website discussing methods for preventing drought through indoor and outdoor water conservation.
American Red Cross (ARC)
National Drought Mitigation Center
Website with links to drought mitigation tools for agricultural producers.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
NOAA Regional Climate Centers
Website linking to the NOAA Regional Climate Centers.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
U.S. Drought Monitor
Website providing drought condition maps and information for the U.S.
National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)
USDA Disaster and Drought Information
Website with assistance programs for during or after a drought.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)

More Drought Factsheets

Drought: Public Fact Sheet
Factsheet overviewing drought, its importance and how it is monitored.
National Weather Service (NOAA NWS)
Tax Issues After a Drought: Guidelines for Crop Loss and Livestock Sales
Factsheet discussiong tax issues for crops and livestock following a drought.
University of Wisconsin Extension