While Iowa isn't turning into the Sahara Desert right now, the state's farmers continue to experience growing frustration with this historic drought.

You might be looking outside your door right now and thinking,

"Ummmm...but we just got a whole bunch of snow. How can we be in a drought?"

Honestly, I thought the same exact thing.

Currently, Iowa is in the middle of one of the worst droughts that the state has experienced in seventy years.

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Wheat Farmers Forced To Make Hay Following Crop Failure Due To Drought
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Nearly 200 Weeks in A Drought

Officials confirm that Iowa has been experiencing drought conditions for 188 weeks, as of January 19th. For the past three years, some regions in east central Iowa have seen rainfall deficits of nearly 25 inches, according to the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

This dry spell marks the longest drought/span of drought conditions in the state in approximately seventy years.

That's right, it has not been this bad since the 1950s...

According to reports from the National Integrated Drought Information System approximately 80% of the Hawkeye State is in a drought currently.  64 of the 99 counties in Iowa are considered USDA Disaster Designations due to these conditions, and 2.4 million Iowa residents are in areas of drought.

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stweardship
Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship
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While the conditions were not the best for Iowa's agriculture, Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig praised the hard work of the state's farmers.

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“Even with all the weather challenges last year, Iowa remained a production powerhouse and that’s a testament to the assistance of timely rains, the resiliency of Iowa farmers, and continuous improvements in genetics, traits, equipment, technology, production methods and many other innovations,” said Secretary Naig.

2023 was the 22nd driest year on record, according to officials from the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship.

Things Are Looking Up Though!

While things might seem dismal right now for farmers and this extreme drought, officials claim that there is some sort of light at the end of the tunnel.  Iowa’s Drought Plan saw some improvement at the very end of 2023.

Tim Hall, the DNR’s Hydrology Resources Coordinator claims conditions could be improving.

“Nearly all of Iowa is in some form of drought or dryness, but the wetter than normal December along with the current wetter than normal start to January is moving conditions in the right direction," he said.

"Frozen soils and winter weather tend to keep drought conditions from changing much, but we are heading in the direction to improve conditions in the early spring.”

Stay up to date with everything going on in Eastern Iowa by downloading the free station app from the app store. Also, do not forget to follow the station across all social media platforms for the latest updates about weather events in our area.

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