The MRCC is a cooperative effort of the National Climatic Center and the Illinois State Water Survey. The MRCC serves the nine-state Midwest region: Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. They focus on research help to better explain climate and its impacts on the Midwest, provide practical solutions to specific climate problems, and development of climate information for issues such as agriculture, climate change, energy, the environment, human health, risk management, transportation, and water resources.
The graphic to the right is one of many to be found on MRCC’s Midwest Climate Watch which is essentially the online clearing house for much of their data and reports.
This graphic shows that precipitation levels in most of the midwest have been half or less of the average expected over the last 90 days. In Ohio, our nortwestern corner fits that bill which is part of the reason why Williams, Defiance, Paulding and Van Wert Counties are currently under USDA secretarial drought designations. (The other reason is that they are contiguous to counties in Indiana which are “primary” designations.
You can also see that most of western, central and northern Ohio have received only between 50-75% of expected average precipitation over the last 90 days.
The drought has meant different challenges and opportunities for OFU farmers across Ohio. One hay farmer in western Ohio is doing alright because his hay is fetching a higher than average price due to parched livestock grazing lands. On the other hand, one of our OFU members has been feeding hay to cattle for several weeks – something that doesn’t usually doesn’t happen until the depths of winter.
How is the drought affecting your farm? Tell us your story in the comments section below.