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|1802 Hill Avenue
Spirit Lake, IA 51360
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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. Reduced water resources reduce crop and forage growth and can ultimately result in crop loss.
The impact of drought on livestock can be devastating, and can result in increased animal death. Limited water supplies occur during a time when the water needs are increased. Feed availability can become limited, impacting animal production. Plants can also concentrate toxins under drought conditions, making them lethal to livestock.
Drought conditions can 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.
Drought also impacts agricultural communities. Families may have water limitations or restrictions in efforts to conserve limited water resources. Businesses that are directly related to agricultural production or that provide goods and services to farms can face reduced business and the need for closure.
The U.S. Drought Monitor site (http://drought.unl.edu/dm/monitor.html) synthesizes data from multiple sources to map and monitor potential drought situations in the U.S. Maps and data on drought intensity and impact are updated weekly. The National Integrated Drought Information System (www.drought.gov) is a multi-agency website with drought related information including early warnings, with previous drought comparisons, as well as plans for future droughts.
Planning ahead can help protect your family, livestock and crops. The following factsheets provide suggestions to minimize the impact and speed the recovery from drought situations.