Recently the Iowa GIS Service Bureau lent a hand in a drought related project initiated by the Iowa Geographic Information Council (IGIC). There are many side effects of the current drought stretching across much of the county, but the one we focused on was the lack of feed for livestock.
As dry conditions continue, some pastures have not been producing enough vegetation for the the livestock that feed on them. To make up for the shortfall, livestock producers have had to bring in hay to fill the gap. The problem has been finding hay producers that have not been effected by the drought.
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So to get more of a grasp on the problem IGIC, the Service Bureau, and the GIS facility at Iowa State University worked together to make the above online map identifying traditional hay producing areas in the upper Midwest (using crop reports from the USDA), along with weekly drought conditions from the US Drought Monitor.
If you access the map here, another layer that can be turned on in the map is of hay sellers in Iowa. Maybe this could be a model for communicating other problems?