Market News & Headlines >> Drought Worsens in California, Kansas

Drought conditions continue to intensify in California, with nearly 9% of the state in “exceptional” drought as of Tuesday according to the weekly Drought Monitor.

As discussed in last week’s Brock Report, the Golden State suffered from its driest year on record in 2013. The latest drought monitor report shows 67.1% of the state in “extreme” drought or worse, up from 62% the prior week. The portion in exceptional drought jumped to 8.77%, up from zero.

While the state’s farmers are best known for nuts, fruits and vegetables, it accounted for 7.1% of all livestock cash receipts in 2012, ranking only behind Iowa and Texas according to USDA.

If there’s any good news, it’s that there are signs of a change in the weather pattern. Parts of southern California received “sprinkles” over the weekend, which was enough to make news. More significantly, portions of the San Joaquin Valley awoke to some rain on Thursday while parts of the Sierra Nevada mountains are finally getting a snowstorm. There are still a couple months left in what is typically California’s rainy season, which leaves the potential for improvement.

Elsewhere, drought conditions in the central and southern Plains are persisting if not worsening. The Drought Monitor showed the portion of Texas that is at least “abnormally dry” climbed to 80.7% this week, from 76.7% the week prior.

In Kansas, 63.5% of the state is in moderate drought or worse, a jump from 46% the prior week. Conditions in Kansas worsen as you travel from east to west.