As you can see, the widest extent of the drought is across the great plains and high country of the lower Rockies Mountains. This is bad news for our wheat, cattle, and corn crops, which rely on warm thunderstorms and plenty of grass and groundwater for growing, but all this is in danger. With no rainfall, the water table drops, and irrigation becomes more costly. Aquifer levels which are already dropping at unsustainable rates will only deplete faster, and less net crop output will come out of the lower plains if this drought indeed continues.
This problem is also running into another issue: Oil Prices. With a barrel of crude oil sitting between $105 and $115 as i write this, it has become very expensive to work the land, especially with the size of industrial equipment and petrochemical inputs to our modern form of agriculture. This is all bad news, but with hardship comes opportunity...
This could be our chance to localize our food sources. If we keep putting pressure on the great expanses of the plains to produce our food for us all the way out on the coastline, we will only do more damage to the land. We whould rely on farms and pastures closer to home, and let the residents of the plains grow their food for themselves first, lowering demand for their land and thus helping reduce some of the adverse effects of the drought. In turn, this can also lower food prices, which are rising globally. Theres different ways of taking action:
Participate in CSA: Community-Supported Agriculture. For a yearly or seasonal fee, you can ensure fresh produce and meats get delivered or provided for you from your local farms, while you help support them. That way, the distance your food has to travel from field to your fridge is much less, cutting back on the use of fossil fuels (which lowers oil prices) as well as reducing carbon emissions into the environment.
Ask your local grocer for local or organic foods: often organic foods are sourced much closer to your supermarket due to their shorter shelf lives, and they use less petrochemical fertilizer and inputs than typical industrially-grown crops. Many large supermarkets have their own organic in-house brands which are comparable in price to brand name non-organic foods
Eat In-Season foods: Keep a list of what produce are in season and where they come from. That way, you dont have to waste all of the fossil fuels shipping strawberries up from chile in january. Lowering food miles (miles traveled between the field and your fridge), helps lower oil demand and food prices overall.
It's worth the minor sacrifices to do your small part to help ensure that you get low-cost healthy food without doing damage to the environment.