Office of the Governor of Iowa

Governor Branstad

Iowa Drought 2012

A Message from Governor Terry E. Branstad and Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds

Fellow Iowans,

As we head into the fall and winter, we want to ensure that the state of Iowa is doing all it can to provide assistance to those who have been impacted by the drought conditions.

The State of Iowa will continue to monitor drought conditions as we head into the harvest season and update Iowans on the latest information. As a state, we are committed to working with our federal partners, including the Farms Services Agency (FSA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USADA).

With continued communication and collaboration we can make sure our state is in the best position to battle any conditions that come our way.


Terry E. Branstad                 Kim Reynolds

Governor of Iowa                 Lieutenant Governor of Iowa

Governor Branstad’s Action Steps

Midwest Transportation Coordination details can be viewed here.

Latest News

Complete list of Iowa counties disaster declarations.

Current drought resources and information from the USDA.

Secretary Vilsack’s most recent letter to Governor Branstad can be viewed here.

Northey: Farmers, Rural Residents Encouraged to Stay Safe this Harvest Season – Released by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Sept. 18, 2012

FDA Approves Blending of Corn Containing Aflatoxin – Released by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Sept. 18, 2012

2012 Aflatoxin Memo      2012 Aflatoxin Compliance Agreement

IA 13296-01 Disaster Assistance Available for Iowa Small Businesses - Released by the U.S. Small Business Administration, Sept. 14, 2012

Gov. Branstad signs proclamation allowing overweight loads for harvest season – Released by the Governor’s Office, Sept. 5, 2012

Northey: State Cost Share Funds Now Available for Cover Crops – Released by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Aug. 30, 2012

Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship to Require Testing of Milk for Aflatoxin Starting Aug. 31 – Released the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, Aug. 28, 2012

Emergency Drought Relief — Allowing the Haying and Grazing of a Cover Crop for the 2012 Crop Year – Released by the USDA, Aug. 22, 2012

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack Announces New Help for Livestock Producers with Changes to Emergency Loan, Crops Insurance – Released by the USDA, Aug. 22,2012

Click here for previous press releases



Contact Information

Governor’s Office – 515-281-5211

Homeland Security Emergency Managment Division – 515-725-3231

Iowa Concern Hotline – 1-800-447-1985

Iowa Department of Agriculutre and Land Stewardship – 515-281-5321

Hay and Straw Hotline – 1-800-383-5079

Iowa Department of Natural Resources – 515-281-5918

Iowa Department of Transportation – 1-800-925-6469

Additional Information

Click here for Emergency Farm Loan Information from the USDA

Iowa State University’s “Dealing with Drought” Informational Website

Haying/Grazing Update – from Iowa State Farm Service Agency, July 26, 2012

Jasper County has been added to the list of counties that have been authorized for emergency grazing.  Iowa now has 26 counties eligible.

All counties are eligible for Haying/Grazing beginning August 2nd.

  • To help facilitate the request process, counties have been authorized to start accepting formal requests, however producers are reminded that haying and grazing cannot begin until August 2nd.
  • If haying, participants are to leave 50% undisturbed.  Any acres mowed, will be considered hayed.  Producers should keep this in mind in the event they determine some areas are not worth haying.
  • Eligible practices are:
    • CP1:  Introduced Grasses
    • CP2: Native Grasses
    • CP4B/CP4D:  Permanent Wildlife Habitat
    • CP10:  Vegetative Cover, already established.
    • Ineligible practices include:
      • Those in a useful life easement
      • Land within 120 feet of a stream or other permanent waterbody, i.e.:  filter and buffer strips
      • Other practices that are not listed above, such as waterways, contour strips, wetland practices, etc.
      • Before haying or grazing, producers must file a request, identify the area on an aerial map, and obtain a modified conservation plan from the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) that will include the requirement for haying/grazing.

A Secretarial Disaster designation was announced in Wisconsin, Iowa has three contiguous counties, Allamakee, Clayton, and Dubuque.  This designation has made producers in these counties eligible for emergency loans.

Emergency Haying/Grazing – from Iowa State Farm Service Agency, July 25, 2012

Until the end of the primary nesting season only emergency grazing of CRP acreage can be requested.  Currently, no county in Iowa has been approved for emergency grazing.  The requirements for this have not changed; a 40% loss in moisture and forage is needed.

New provisions, will allow for all counties in Iowa to be released for emergency haying and grazing of CRP acreage on August 2nd.

  • The CRP participants must request to hay or graze on or after August 2nd and complete necessary forms, including identifying the acreage to be utilized.
  • Producers cannot hay and graze the same acreage.
  • Will be assessed a 10 percent payment reduction, which is calculated on the acres actually hayed/grazed
  • Remove all hay or livestock by September 30, 2012.

Emergency Haying

  • Must be completed by August 31, 2012
  • Is limited to 1 cutting
  • Leave at least 50% of each field or contiguous field unhayed.
  • Participants may sell the hay harvested under the emergency provisions.

Emergency Grazing

  • Must be completed by September 30, 2012.

A Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation has been approved for ten Iowa Counties that are contiguous to a disaster area in Missouri.  This allowed for Emergency Loans to be made available to eligible family farmers with qualifying production and physical losses.  These contiguous disaster counties are:  Appanoose, Davis, Decatur, Fremont, Lee, Page, Ringgold, Taylor, Van Buren, and Wayne.

Photos of the drought

Photos from the Iowa Soybean Association and Gary Fandel.