Wind erosion has damaged 4.7 million acres in the Great Plains in the last four months, one of the most extensive losses on record, the Agriculture Department said. “Much of this damage is due to the drought,” said Soil Conservation Service chief Wilson Scaling. “We went into the wind erosion season with poor cover in much of the Great Plains because of the drought. Then this winter, we’ve had a combination of no snow cover and high-velocity winds in many areas.” Scaling said 88% of the acreage damaged was cropland, with rangeland accounting for most of the remainder. In Montana and Wyoming, wind erosion is higher than at any time since the SCS began keeping records in 1955. The record for wind damage on the Great Plains is 5.3 million acres, set in 1955-1956.