Marked Improvement in North Carolina Drought Conditions

 A soggy New Year’s weekend and early week left its mark on North Carolina’s drought conditions as reported in the latest drought monitor released by the Drought Mitigation Center on Thursday for conditions through Tuesday morning.  The state’s abnormally dry conditions improved from just over 62% last week to just under 43% this week, moderate drought conditions improved from 33.33% to just under 27%, and severe drought conditions improved slightly from 12.66% to 12.41%.  The area of extreme drought improved from 4.45% down to 1.57%, and exception drought remains at zero.  The area of the most marked improvement is in the Piedmont, with dry conditions pulling back to the west, with the exception of the row of counties along the Virginia border.  The Coastal Plain is drought free.

South Carolina’s Drought Conditions Improve Slightly

In the latest drought monitor for South Carolina for conditions through Tuesday morning, South Carolina saw some drought relief over the past week with the area of abnormally dry conditions improving from just under 755 to just over 72%, and the area of moderate drought improving from 41.79% to just over 30%.  The area of severe drought improved from 26.67% to just under 20%, and the area of extreme drought improved from 9.6% to just over 4%, and the area of exception drought is now zero, down from 3 one-hundredths of a percent.  The portion of the Palmetto State that remains drought free is the eastern Pee Dee region and the upper coastal region.

Warm & Dry Weather Forecast Through Mid-Month

USDA meteorologist Brad Rippey with the regional weather forecast for January 11th through the 17th.

“This bitter cold outbreak will be but a memory as we get to mid-January, we’re looking to return to above normal temperatures across much of the south, east and the lower Midwest.  The only area that will be dry will be stretching from the southern Plains to the southern Atlantic coast.”

Agriculture Growing Weary of Ag Secretary Search

As President-elect Donald Trump thins his list of major nominations to make before he takes office later this month, the agriculture industry is getting restless while waiting for his pick to lead the Department of Agriculture. There’s been a flurry of meetings and rumors since his election in November, but the industry continues to wait. A nomination was expected this week and Trump transition team said Wednesday Trump continues to meet with highly qualified candidates. Former USDA Secretary John Block perhaps said it best, saying: “It’s very risky to think you know anything, because you don’t,” according to Politico. Meanwhile, Jerry Hagstrom of the Hagstrom Report wrote in the National Journal this week that “damage has already been done,” citing a lobbyist who said “ag is going to start saying that Trump doesn’t care about us.” It is believed this is the longest wait for a USDA Secretary nomination by an incoming president since Henry Wallace, who was nominated by Franklin D. Roosevelt in March of 1933, according to a U.S. Senate historical book.'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.