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Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 10/17/12

U.S. Winter Wheat Progress, October 14, 2012

U.S. Winter Wheat Progress, October 14, 2012. (Click to enlarge image.)

Visit www.usda.gov/drought for the latest information regarding USDA’s Drought Disaster response and assistance.

According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, valid October 9, nearly two-thirds (63.55%) of the contiguous U.S. remains in drought.  However, this is down nearly two percentage points from the late-September peak of 65.45%, as recent rains across the South and East have chipped away at the drought.  At the same time, drought continues to gradually intensify across the northern Plains, where rangeland and pastures remain in dismal condition and winter wheat emergence has been hampered by a lack of soil moisture. Read more »

Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 10/3/12

U.S. Winter Wheat Progress - Percent emerged September 30, 2012

U.S. Winter Wheat Progress - Percent emerged September 30, 2012. Click to enlarge image.

Based on data since 1995, U.S. corn and soybean harvests are proceeding at a record pace.  By September 30, 2012, more than one-half (54%) of the corn had been harvested, nearly three times the five-year average of 20%.  During the preceding 17 years, the record amount of U.S. corn harvested by the end of September had been 35% in 2000.  Similarly, 41% of the soybeans had been harvested by September 30.  Prior to this year, the record-setting soybean harvest pace by September 30 had also been 35% in 2000. Read more »

UPDATE: Drought Code Sprint Deadline Extended to October 24

After hearing from many of you, we are extending the deadline to submit your apps for the Drought Code Sprint to Wednesday, October 24 at 5 p.m. ET apps using this form.

Do you have any questions about our data or would you like to learn more about our drought assistance in general? Let us know, we’d love to help as you start coding! Read more »

Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 9/26/12

U.S Winter Wheat Progress - Percent Planted as of September 23, 2012

U.S Winter Wheat Progress - Percent Planted as of September 23, 2012

Visit www.usda.gov/drought for the latest information regarding USDA’s Drought Disaster response and assistance.

Based on data since 1995, U.S. corn and soybean harvests are proceeding at a record pace.  By September 23, more than one-third (39%) of the corn had been harvested, three times the five-year average of 13%.  During the preceding 17 years, the record amount of U.S. corn harvested by September 23 had been 24% in 2000.  Similarly, more than one-fifth (22%) of the soybeans had been harvested by September 23.  Prior to this year, the record-setting soybean harvest pace by September 23 had been 18% in 2000. Read more »

Agricultural Weather and Drought Update – 9/19/12

U.S. Pasture and Range Conditions as of September 16, 2012.

U.S. Pasture and Range Conditions as of September 16, 2012. Click to enlarge image.

The 2012 summer crop season is quickly winding down.  By mid-September, more than three-quarters (76%) of the U.S. corn was fully mature and well over half (57%) of the soybeans were dropping leaves, according to USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service.  More than one-quarter (26%) of the corn had already been harvested by September 16, a record-setting pace.  As the growing season comes to an end, corn and soybean conditions (currently 50% and 36% very poor to poor, respectively) remain comparable to those observed during the 1988 drought. Read more »

USDA Drought Code Sprint: Giving Americans One-Click Access to Federal Drought Relief

Editor’s note: After hearing from many of you, we are extending the deadline to submit your apps for the Drought Code Sprint to Wednesday, October 24 at 5 p.m. ET.

Americans across the country are feeling the impact of the most severe and extensive drought in the last 25 years.  We’ve heard from people throughout the United States, asking how they can help. That’s why today we’re launching USDA’s first-ever Drought Code Sprint, a call to developers across the country to use publicly available government information to help farmers, ranchers, and others gain quick and reliable “one-click” access to information on drought conditions and Federal drought relief.  Developers can submit their apps using this form by Wednesday, October 24 at 5 p.m ET.  Some of the most innovative ones will be featured on USDA.gov.

Crops are withering as a result of this historic drought and feed for livestock is growing ever more scarce and expensive.  None of us is immune—these conditions are affecting over 50% of the country and almost 80% of our agricultural land.  But our rural communities and family farmers and ranchers are on the front lines, and have been the first to feel the drought’s full effects. They are working hard to overcome these hardships, and the Federal Government has stepped up to help.

Of course, apps can’t influence the weather or refill our reservoirs. But they can help farmers and ranchers become more easily aware of the kinds of assistance available to them, and they can simplify the process of taking advantage of these options so relief gets to the people who need it as efficiently as possible.

Some tools we’d love to see include apps that provide “one-click” access to the nearest USDA service centers and available drought programs; county-level drought disaster designations and program eligibility; information on Federal assistance available based on location and sector; types of loans or refinance options available with a handy repayment calculator and eligibility requirements; drought maps; and localized weather outlooks.  These are just a few of our ideas but we’re confident that you have even better ones—so get coding!

To get started, check out these publicly available data sets in the Natural Hazards Data Community on Safety.Data.gov and on the USDA drought website:

We encourage developers to use other freely available resources on safety.data.gov or the USDA website as well—including Agriculture Weather and Drought Outlook blog posts and Drought Assistance Programs and Information sites—and any other data resources that would be helpful to those affected by the drought.

Here is a great opportunity to apply American ingenuity and technology to the cause of helping America’s farms. We look forward to seeing your ideas.