BILLINGS, Okla. – In northern Oklahoma, not far from the Kansas border, once fertile farmland is turning to dust.
"The lower leaves are starting to show death," said farmer and rancher Marty Williams.
Williams is a fifth-generation farmer; his family settled the plains during the Oklahoma land rush in the late 19th century.
"To reach a 110 (degrees), 108, 107 consistently for three or four weeks is kind of unheard of, but it's happened before and the last time it happened was 2011," Williams said.
State meteorologists looked at historical data and noticed that June and July were the driest Oklahoma has experienced for that time period in 100 years.
"It's very prolonged and the heat -- I think we had 47 days of over 100 degrees back in 2011 and it looks like we are going to get that or beat this year," Williams said.
According to the Drought Monitor, nearly 64% of Oklahoma is in drought. And even more alarming is that percentage has more than doubled in the past week.
Livestock is a huge concern for these farmers and ranchers with this heat so right. I followed Williams along as he tracked down his cattle through a pasture and on a gravel road surrounded by wind turbines where he thinks his cattle seek refuge and water.
"The cows right now with the heat going up, they are going to spend a lot of time in the water," Williams said. "And then we are going to start worrying about pond water. We are in an area where there is no groundwater (and) very little water to be extracted, and so the cattle are going to run out of water and the hay situation to feed them is going to become very dire."
About 20 miles away from Williams' operation is Lyman Urban, another 5th generation farmer who is experiencing the extreme challenges of the weather.
"Right now, depressing...hard, dry...frustrating," Urban said. "You know we had some moisture when we planted these beans, but the wind and the heat dried it out immediately, and the bean didn't even have time to sprout. It's just lying there in the ground waiting for moisture."
But that is likely not going to happen any time soon. The forecast this week is stifling with temps in the 100s beating down on the crops and the animals.
"It's personal," Urban said. "I've had to pick up what my dad went through in the '80s and '90s and it's an ongoing battle."