"Last year, the worst drought in generations devastated farms and ranches across the nation," explained USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack. "But our work isn't done and we can always better prepare for the future."
Vilsack said the partnership will help rural residents, farmers, ranchers and business owners prepare for drought events like last year's.
Leaders of collaborating agencies underscored the offerings of the program.
Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, Acting Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the partnership builds upon NOAA's climate programs and products. Recent updates to drought monitoring, she said, will help communities plan for drought events.
Other partners in the partnership include the Department of the Interior, the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Energy.
Spearheaded by USDA and NOAA, members of the National Drought Resilience Partnership will coordinate the delivery of Federal Government policies, programs, information and tools designed to help communities plan for and respond to drought.
About two-thirds of the continental United States was affected by drought in 2012, impacting water supply, tourism, transportation, and near shore fisheries, with an estimated $30 billion in losses to the agriculture sector alone, and an additional $1 billion in losses from wildfires, USDA said.
For more information on drought and the National Drought Resilience Partnership, please visit www.drought.gov.