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Severe drought rocks U.S. small businesses

Farmers are among the small business owners who have suffered immensely from the severe drought sweeping the nation.
Farmers are among the small business owners who have suffered immensely from the severe drought sweeping the nation.

An increasing amount of small businesses are suffering from the worst drought the U.S. has faced in 12 years, according to a CNNMoney article. Farms, boating companies and restaurants are among the hardest hit and authorities have declared over 1,000 counties in 26 states as natural disaster areas.

However, this is the widest-spread drought in decades, as the National Climactic Data Center (NCDC) released its monthly report saying that 55 percent of the country was in a moderate to extreme drought at the end of June. This is the largest amount of affected land since December 1956, when 58 percent of the country was covered by drought.

Jake Crouch, a climatologist with the NCDC told the Huffington Post that it's important to understand that the drought is still unfolding.

"We can't say with certainty how long this might last now," Crouch said. "Now that we're going up against the two largest droughts in history, that's something to be wary of. The coming months are really going to be the determining factor of how big a drought it ends up being."

Farmers, such as Kenny Brummer in southern Illinois, are finding themselves especially impacted by the lack of rain. Brummer told the news source that he can normally count on his corn crop to bring in 170 bushels per acre. This year, though, he expects to get 10 bushels, if any at all.

Nearly a third of the nation's corn crop has been negatively impacted, forcing many farmers to feed what little product there is to hungry livestock. For example, Brummer lost 800 acres of corn to his 400 head of cattle and 30,000 hogs.

Many small businesses will be impacted by the change in food output from farms. As such, it is vital to have an updated business continuity plan in place to ensure that whatever the situation – natural disaster or otherwise – companies are able to prepare for and deal with anything that comes their way.