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Partnering to Deliver Drought Information through USDA Service Centers: A New Fact Sheet Outlines Drought-Related Recovery Programs

Posted by Mark Brusberg (USDA-Office of the Chief Economist), Brenda Carlson (USDA-Farm Service Agency), Brian Fuchs (National Drought Mitigation Center), Rachel Steele (USDA-Office of the Chief Economist), Ariela Zycherman (USDA-Office of the Chief Economist) in Climate
Nov 01, 2019
Picture of the new U.S. Drought Monitor two-pager
Picture of the new U.S. Drought Monitor two-pager.

When dealing with drought, producers can feel overwhelmed and unsure of where to get help to recover from their losses, mitigate risk, and/or prepare for future events. To support the agricultural community in locating the information they need, USDA in partnership with the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) at the University of Nebraska, developed a two-page factsheet (PDF, 1 MB) with information on the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) and drought related programs that rely on its use.

The two-pager will be made widely available at USDA service centers across the country. “This is a convenient all-in-one resource that will help producers access resources for drought recovery,” said Brian Fuchs, Monitoring coordinator at the National Drought Mitigation Center.

The factsheet contains information on the following:

Recovery programs triggered by the U.S. Drought Monitor:

Other USDA drought recovery programs:

Drought-related programs offered through the Natural Resources Conservation Service:

The fact-sheet also lists other resources and websites that may be of use to producers who are coping with drought (e.g., the USDA Climate Hubs). For more information and your own copy of the two-pager, please visit the U.S. Drought Monitor website.

Background on the Drought Monitor

Since its release in 1999, the Drought Monitor has become the gold standard in identifying the location and severity of drought events. USDA began using the Drought Monitor as a trigger for several of its programs just a few years later. Beginning in 2008, Farm Bills have mandated the use of the Drought Monitor by USDA’s Farm Service Agency to identify areas available for Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) relief and to calculate the level of support available to ranchers.

To familiarize USDA field offices with the Drought Monitor so they may better inform the public on their eligibility for assistance during times of drought, the NDMC co-hosted a series of workshops in partnership with USDA’s Climate Hubs. These workshops instructed USDA field personnel on the history of the Drought Monitor, how it is produced, and its role in providing relief to producers. In this way, USDA field personnel can help the public identify when they may be eligible for drought relief programs, provide them with information on weather and climate patterns common to their region, and recommend steps to mitigate the impacts of weather and climate extremes.

Dr. Mark Svoboda, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center, describing the evolution of the U.S. Drought Monitor
Dr. Mark Svoboda, director of the National Drought Mitigation Center, describes the evolution of the U.S. Drought Monitor to attendees. (Photo by Tonya Bernadt, NDMC)
Category/Topic: Climate