Farm Bureau Survey Shows the Impact of Drought on U.S. Agriculture

News / Newsline August 16, 2022

Credit: Nevada Farm Bureau 

An AFBF survey shows that drought is hitting U.S. agriculture hard. Chad Smith has more on the impacts felt on the ground.

Smith: The American Farm Bureau Federation distributed a third drought impact survey in June to its members in 15 states across the Western U.S. Danny Munch, an economist with Farm Bureau, said the survey was distributed to state staff, county and state leadership, and farmer and rancher members.

Munch: The survey included several demographic questions to distinguish state affiliation and had sections on crop specific factors, livestock factors and general water access. By the end, we received over 650 responses from the 15 states and then got a whole bunch of data on operational level changes that farmers and ranchers were doing to cope with drought.

Smith: The major takeaways from the survey show farmers are continuing to battle severe drought conditions.

Munch: Respondents expect their farm-related revenue to be down 38 percent from average because of drought. Seventy-four percent reported an expected reduction in harvest, yields, 66 reported liquidating parts of their herd or livestock herd, and 73 percent reported reduced surface water deliveries because of drought conditions. Many more farmers were tilling under crops and removing orchards compared to last year, and of those who have reduced their herd size last year, half we're continuing to liquidate.

Smith: He says communicating the impact of drought on agriculture is crucial to the conversation surrounding effective drought mitigation efforts.

Munch: A lot of data on drought impacts is often isolated, it's not uniform across the country, or it's just generally difficult to come by. So, we at AFBF recognize the gap in data and decided to run our own survey. This is the third time as drought continues to persist, and that data provides useful insights on the operational-level hurdles farmers and ranchers face in coping with that drought. That's helpful in our communication efforts.

Smith: Chad Smith, Washington.

Read the full results of the survey here

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