Areas of Nebraska See Drought Improvement

Courtesy of U.S. Drought Monitor

Last week's storms brought severe weather for parts of the state, but some areas also saw beneficial rain.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows the drought area has been reduced to 63 percent of Nebraska, down from nearly 70 percent the week before.

In addition to that, extreme drought was removed from central Nebraska.

Nebraska wasn't the only state where conditions improved. This week, about 30 percent of U.S. states have moderate drought or worse compared to 31 percent a week earlier.

While the Drought Monitor shows improvements for parts of Nebraska, other areas, particularly in the southwest and central regions, are continuing to deal with severe drought conditions, according to Nebraska Department of Agriculture Assistant Director Bobbie Kriz-Wickham.

In these areas, farmers and ranchers have several options for assistance.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service has launched the Drought Recovery Initiative, available for producers in counties that were designated as D3 (extreme) or D4 (exceptional) drought areas on the U.S. Drought Monitor map as of May 20.

The sign-up deadline for this program is June 20. The program is available in these Nebraska counties: Keith, Perkins, Chase, Dundy, Hitchcock, Hayes, Lincoln, Frontier and Red Willow.

The initiative allows producers to apply for assistance to implement conservation practices such as cover crops, critical area planting, fencing, forage and biomass planting, pipeline, well and pumping stations for livestock water and range planting.

Another program available is the Livestock Forage Disaster Program, which is operated by the USDA Farm Service Agency.

According to Kriz-Wickham, sign-up for this program is ongoing, and producers should contact their local FSA office to learn more about the eligibility requirements. The program assists producers with livestock forage losses associated with drought conditions experienced beginning in 2012.