||Maize (Zea mays L.) is the most prominent crop in the Northeast Farming Region of China (NFR), and drought has been the largest limitation for maize production in this area during recent decades. The question of how to adapt maize production to drought has received great attention from policy makers, researchers and farmers. In order to evaluate the effects of adaptation strategies against drought and examine the influences of policy supports and farmer households’ characteristics on adopting decisions, a large scale household survey was conducted in five representative maize production counties across NFR. Our survey results indicated that using variety diversification, drought resistant varieties and dibbling irrigation are the three major adaptation strategies against drought in spring, and farmers also adopted changes in sowing time, conservation tillage and mulching to cope with drought in spring. About 20% and 18% of households enhanced irrigation against drought in summer and autumn, respectively. Deep loosening tillage and organic fertilizer are also options for farmers to resist drought in summer. Maize yield was highly dependent on soil qualities, with yields on land of high soil quality approximately 1050 kg/ha and 2400 kg/ha higher than for normal and poor soil conditions, respectively. Using variety diversification and drought resistant varieties can respectively increase maize yield by approximately 150 and 220 kg/ha under drought. Conservation tillage increased maize yield by 438–459 kg/ha in drought years. Irrigation improved maize yield by 419–435 kg/ha and 444–463 kg/ha against drought in summer and autumn, respectively. Offering information service, financial and technical support can greatly increase the use of adaptation strategies for farmers to cope with drought. However, only 46% of households received information service, 43% of households received financial support, and 26% of households received technical support against drought from the local government. The maize acreage and the irrigation access are the major factors that influenced farmers’ decisions to apply adaptation strategies to cope with drought in each season, but only 25% of households have access to irrigation. This indicates the need for enhanced public support for farmers to better cope with drought in maize production, particularly through improving access to irrigation.