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AFBF conducts drought survey in western U.S.

Photo Courtesy of American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF)

The American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) surveyed producers from 13 states in the Western U.S. to learn more about how drought conditions are impacting farmers.

Drought conditions are never good for any type of agricultural producer. AFBF Associate Economist Danny Munch said the survey shows that the severe drought is negatively impacting the farmers and ranchers’ ability to operate profitably.

“Over 85 percent rated selling off portions of their herd or flock as prevalent or higher,” Munch said. “87 percent of respondents say there’s an increase in feed costs associated with drought. 77 percent of them reduced their acreage and see that as prevalent or higher within their region. So, making a lot of different operational-level changes to really deal with drought conditions.”

Munch said that many crop farmers reported that they were tilling under or destroying crops to deal with any potential future losses in production.

“That was rated as moderately prevalent,” Munch said. “We know in certain areas where there’s specialty crops, like out in California with your almond trees, some producers were bulldozing almond trees or kind of pruning off your fruits and veggies to save the trees. So, you’re really experiencing major changes on a lot of these farms and orchards to deal with a lack of water.”

Munch added that many farmers are dealing with water shortages as well.

“86 percent of our respondents said that they’ve experienced reduced water deliveries with most of that being very prevalent across the board,” Munch said. “And that really links back to such a low amount of water in all of the reservoirs that farmers and ranchers rely on out west.”

To learn more about the American Farm Bureau Federation, visit fb.org.