Nearly every part of the planet will experience periods of less than normal rainfall. Many people underestimate the effects of drought, but extensive droughts in both Texas and California in recent years have resulted in nearly $10 billion in agriculture and agriculture-related losses. While both Texas and California have begun to recover, western states such as Colorado and New Mexico are currently experiencing abnormally dry or drought conditions.
And it’s not just in the west. As of today, 99% of Georgia is currently experiencing abnormally dry or drought conditions, with South Carolina coming in at 95%. Even Florida isn’t immune; with abnormally dry or drought conditions found in 68% of the state.
This is why farmers and ranchers need to plan for drought.
Though drought conditions affect everyone, farmers and ranchers bear the brunt of the results of a drought. For instance, during prolonged drought conditions, water sources such as wells may run dry, crops may fail, and livestock forage can become scarce. In fact, drought is considered a major stress event for family farmers that can frequently result in small farms failing, and consequently being consolidated into large industrial farms.
Though farmers and ranchers have no control over rainfall totals, by implementing effective drought mitigation processes, they can be better prepared to deal with the consequences of drought. In fact, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) currently estimates that effective drought mitigation will save $4 for every $1 spent, since planning and preparation for adverse events such as drought is much more efficient and less costly than the resultant crisis management.
Who Should Plan for Drought?
Farmers, ranchers, and other land stewards would be well-served to plan for drought, and have options and contingency plans in place for when drought does occur. Some of the questions that these agricultural professionals should be able to answer include:
- How will drought affect our farm/ranch?
- How can we learn to recognize drought in its early states?
- How can we protect ourselves from the consequences of the next drought?
Be sure to visit our website for more information about drought mitigation and ways farmers and ranchers can help prepare for drought using Holistic Management.
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