USDA Declares Vermont a Natural Disaster Area Due to Drought
This year is in a virtual tie with 2016 to be the hottest year on record and Vermont is feeling the heat. According to the US Drought Monitor, much of Vermont experienced abnormally dry or moderate drought conditions this year due to low precipitation rates and exceptional heat. The potential for dry wells and stunted crop growth led the USDA to declare 9 Vermont counties natural disaster areas. Although Franklin County was not one of them, farmers here are still eligible to apply for emergency loans from FSA (due July 12, 2021). Despite this summer’s abnormally dry conditions, Vermont is actually getting wetter. Since 1958, Vermont now receives 9 more inches of annual precipitation on average. In a changing global climate, state climate scientists expect Vermonters will need to adapt to more weather “extremes”, meaning greater fluctuations in both precipitation and temperature. This includes longer stretches of dry weather, more frequent heavy rainfall events, less snow cover, and shorter winters. For more information about climate change’s impact on Vermont, visit climatechange.vermont.gov.