DROUGHT CONDITIONS: USDA Planning Ahead
Former Iowa governor and current U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the drought conditions could continue through spring and summer.
“We still have an issue with drought. Over 50% of the lower 48 states is currently in the middle of extreme drought conditions,” says Vilsack.
Though Iowa has had some moisture, the drought is still strong across the central plains.
Secretary Vilsack says despite the lack of moisture last year, the U.S. still had the fifth largest corn crop ever and a better than expected soybean crop.
Vilsack says the USDA is applying what it learned from last year’s drought.
“First of all we need to do a better job forecasting…that’s why the USDA entered into an agreement with the NOAA. We learned we needed to streamline regulations, gets help to folks quickly. We’ve streamlined that considerably,” says Vilsack.
The USDA is also beginning research on climate change and multi-cropping.
Vilsack says the drought also underscores the need to research crops which can withstand drought conditions.