Every county in Kansas is officially drought free for the first time since April of 2011. Gov. Brownback made the declaration in an executive order this morning. It corresponds with findings by the U.S. Drought Monitor, which recorded Kansas as drought free two weeks ago.
If you were to look at a drought map of Kansas from June of 2013, you’d see huge areas of orange and maroon, which meant most of central and western Kansas was under severe to exceptional drought. Those dry conditions lingered for a couple more years until this past May, when strong storms finally pushed the last few counties in western Kansas out of the drought.
Max Tjaden owns a farm in Clearwater, KS. He says he’s had some tough seasons over the last six years, but federal crop insurance has been a lifesaver. He describes it as a tight-wire act; in the year’s you fall off, the insurance is there to catch you, and you get back on the following season.
“I’ve collected on wheat a couple of times, corn a couple of times, soybeans—you know, everything I’ve grown I’ve collected on," Tjaden says. "It’s just really a safety net.”
Tjaden says he’s almost ready to harvest this year’s winter wheat crop, which he says looks healthy and mature.
The USDA is forecasting an 8 percent increase this year for Kansas’ winter wheat harvest.
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