You can see the effects of drought with your own eyes, or you can hear about it from the ones who took the hardest punch.
"Last year was probably one of the worst crop years we've had in over 20 years. Our yields were about 1/4 of normal or maybe a little less," Former South Dakota Agriculture Secretary Walt Bones said.
Bones has an extensive history with South Dakota farming, and when he went in the fields at this time last year, what he saw was the result of nature's wrath. On his land he is able to see a clear comparison from last year to now.
"It was very short, the ears were very small compared to this year. This is more the typical. Nice, big ear and tall corn," Bones said.
Thanks to well-timed moisture and cooler temperatures, the corn is expected to see some improvement.
"We are looking at probably some prices coming down a little bit, we're going to have more corn than we did, but it's not to levels that we've had in the past," Bones said.
It is a similar story with area soybeans, a crop that managed to make it through the drought of 2012 with an average result. This year they are still growing, with two more crucial weeks ahead.
"That's a challenge. Our biggest challenge right now is that we have some insect pressure on the beans, some grasshoppers, some aphids. This is something that we're going to have to take are of as this crop is still developing," Bones said
Last year's drought was very crippling to farmers here in the Midwest, shrinking yields at a time when demand is so high across the country and worldwide. This year, the situation is much different, with crops from corn to beans showing significant improvement.
"The cool weather in the first couple weeks of August was key, that was a critical time for pollination for corn. Had we had last year's heat with the moisture levels of this year, our yields would be significantly less. But this year, we should have a good crop," Bones said.
The yields for both corn and soybeans are expected to be above-average, but that is a big step in helping farmers in their recovery from such a debilitating drought.