Drought
9:49 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

On Drought, Texas to Nation: We Know How You Feel

While it isn’t a repeat of last year - one of the worst Texas has ever seen - drought conditions are abundant in 2012. But it’s the nation as a whole who is experiencing its worst drought in decades.

The latest map from the U.S. Drought Monitor released Thursday shows still none of Texas in the worst stage of exceptional drought, while 75 percent of the state was under that distinction last year. There are more areas of the Lone Star State free of drought this week at 12 percent than last week, mostly in Southeast Texas. Conditions in Northeast Texas remain abnormally dry, the lowest on the drought scale.

Here’s what some Texans are saying:

Nationwide, however, farmers are struggling more than they have in 25 years, sparking concern over rising food prices.

Take a moment to experiment with the Drought Monitor's side-by-side comparison tool, which allows you to see the vast difference between the drought of 2011, which mainly hurt Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Louisiana, and the drought of 2012, which is hurting nearly everybody.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told Marketplace Morning Reports’ Jeremy Hobson Thursday that meat and poultry could see an increase in cost, but the impact may not be as severe as feared.

“The livestock producers are the most impacted directly today, by this drought. So they may start liquidating herds. When they do that, prices for meat and poultry and pork over time will go up a bit but it takes quite a bit of a jump for food prices to be dramatically affected by something this.”

He noted that currently nearly 40 percent of corn and a little over 30 percent of the bean crop is in poor or very poor condition.

At last check, the government had declared one-third of the nation’s counties across 29 states federal disaster areas, allowing farmers to apply for low-interest loans.

This map from The New York Times paints a better picture of how widespread the situation is in 2012 compared to every year over the last century.