(Aug 15, 2012) The National Drought Mitigation Center on Thursday rated more than a fifth of the contiguous United States as in “extreme” or “exceptional” drought. The dry spell, coupled with the hottest year on record, threatens widespread
crop failures in the world’s largest agricultural producer.Nearly 40 million acres of corn are withering in the most severe drought in more than half a century. Nearly 9 out of every 10 acres of corn are under drought.In the span of last week, the size of the most severely drought-stricken region jumped by more than 30 million acres. The US Department of Agriculture last week added 218 counties to its list of disaster areas, now encompassing 1,584 counties in 32 states.The USDA has compared the disaster to the drought of 1988, when the rural small farm economy all but collapsed. In terms of geographic scale, the drought is on par with 1934, one of the worst years of the Dust Bowl.