How bad has the drought in Australia gotten, you ask? From the Daily Telegraph: The world’s largest cattle ranch, Anna Creek Station in the South Australian outback, which typically holds 16,000 cattle, has just closed down. The ranch’s owners shuffled the remaining cattle to other ranches, hoping that they can move the herds back when rain arrives. Droughts this severe have only occurred twice before—and that’s dating from the European colonization of Australia.
Remarkably, the drought is endangering species that have evolved to live through drought. “The extreme lack of rain has killed off some of the Outback’s hardiest tree species and is even threatening the survival of mulga and bluebush, tough shrubs which can withstand all but the worst dry spells,” reports the Telegraph.
And though Australia’s drought is particularly severe, cattle farmers in the United States are suffering, too: Supervisors in Marin County, California—the birthplace of Niman Ranch—have declared an agricultural emergency after the driest spring since 1879. And in North Dakota, officials may open conservation land for grazing: There’s no grass growing anywhere else.