Like many Upper Midwest aggies, I’ve spent a lot of time through the years checking the U.S. Drought Monitor. The weekly map is produced through a partnership between the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In dry years, other aggies and I scrutinize the map to get a better handle on how serious and widespread drought has become. It’s a well-respected, highly followed source of important information.
But I haven’t checked the map for months: aggies aren’t talking about moisture shortages or worries, so I saw no reason to check.
With spring’s work looming, however, I decided to take a quick peek. The map revealed what I expected: though there are some dry — but not dangerously dry — chunks in the western Dakotas and western Montana, drought is a relatively minor issue regionwide at this point.
Thanks goodness for that. Let’s hope it continues. Though I appreciate and value the U.S. Drought Monitor, I’d prefer not to need the information it provides.