Map from the U.S. Drought Monitor showing drought intensity in the United States, July 25, 2017. [yellow=abnormally dry, orange=severe drought, red=extreme drought]. 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.

Key Drought Web Resources

Dealing with Drought
Website with resources on preparing and recovering from drought conditions. Includes information on crops, livestock, financial concerns as well as the home and yard and dealing with stress.
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
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)
Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch
Website with a number of drought related resources for farms and ranches.
National Drought Mitigation Center, University of Nebraska
National Drought Mitigation Center
Website with links to drought mitigation tools for agricultural producers.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)
Website with extensive maps, data, and resources on current drought conditions in the U.S.
Multiple Federal Agenies
NWS Climate Prediction Center: Drought Information
Website with latest assessments and seasonal outlooks for drought situations in the U.S.
National Weather Service (NOAA NWS)
U.S. Drought Monitor
Website providing drought condition maps and information for the U.S.
National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS)
USDA Drought Programs and Assistance
Website listing the various USDA programs and agencies to assist with drought issues.
U.S. Department of Agriculture
USDA Drought Resources Page
Website providing latest USDA drought announcements and drought disaster updates.
U.S. Department of Agriculture

Preparedness Resources

Alternative Crops During a Drought: Meeting Forage and Grain Needs in an Emergency
Factsheet discussing alternative forages and ways to reduce the risk of drought stress in crops.
University of Wisconsin Extension
Cattle Management During Drought
Factsheet discussing alternative cattle management strategies during drought situations, such as early weaning and creep feeding.
Montana Cooperative Extension System
Conserving Water in Agriculture: Livestock Water Management During a Drought
Suggestions for making the best use of available water during drought situations to prevent land damage or decreased livestock performance.
Oregon State University Extension Service
Drought Preparedness and Response: Strategies for Farmers
Factsheet discussing actions to take before and after a drought.
University of Wisconsin Extension
Drought: Public Fact Sheet
Factsheet overviewing drought, its importance and how it is monitored.
National Weather Service (NOAA NWS)
Economics of Managing a Livestock Enterprise During Drought
Factsheet containing steps for evaluating options and alternative management ideas during drought situations.
South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension Service
Horse pasture frost and drought concerns
Information about plants found on pasture that may be harmful to horses during drought or frost conditions.
University of Minnesota Extension
Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch Handbook
Handbook outlining how to develop and implement a ranch drought plan.
University of Nebraska, USDA RMA, National Drought Mitigation Center
Managing Livestock During a Drought
Factsheet discussing water requirements and feed issues for livestock during a drought.
University of Wisconsin Extension
Nitrate Toxicity
Factsheet on the nitrate accumulation in plants during drought conditions and precautions to take before feeding to livestock.
Iowa Beef Center, Iowa State University
Prepare Your Farm or Ranch Before Drought Strikes
Information on preparing a farm or ranch for a drought. Ideas on water, land and crop management.
Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
Tillage During a Drought: What to Do - and Not Do - When Soils are Dry
Factsheet with general considerations for crops during drought situations.
University of Wisconsin Extension
Weed Management During a Drought: Herbicide Effectiveness and Mechanical Measures
Factsheet discussing soil applied herbicides, rotary hoeing and cultivation considerations during a drought.
University of Wisconsin Extension
When Every Drop Counts: Protecting Public Health During Drought Conditions - A Guide for Public Health Professionals
Publication to assist public health officials, practitioners, and other stakeholders in their efforts to prepare for drought in their communities.
Multiple Federal Agencies

Recovery Resources

Drought-Stressed Corn
Factsheet to help producers identify drought stressed corn and discusses several options for harvest.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension
Fertilizer Application After a Drought: Considerations For This Year and Next
Factsheet discussing fertilizing considerations after drought situations.
University of Wisconsin Extension
Herbicide Concerns After a Drought: Accounting for Carryover in Next Year's Crops
Factsheet discussing herbicide carryover levels, avoiding residue problems, and testing for carryover.
University of Wisconsin Extension
Irrigation During a Drought: Considerations for Non-Irrigating Farmers
Factsheet discussing considerations for irrigation during a drought.
University of Wisconsin Extension
Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch Handbook
Handbook outlining how to develop and implement a ranch drought plan.
University of Nebraska, USDA RMA, National Drought Mitigation Center
Managing Drought-Stressed Corn for Silage
Factsheet discussing harvest guidelines and toxicity issues associated with drought-stressed corn.
University of Florida Cooperative Extension
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