Well, I’m writing about drought again, so it might be smart for everyone reading this to consider building an Ark…
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “the best way to break a drought is to write something about it.” As I was writing these words there was a storm front making its way into the Southern Plains that brought some parts of the region at least a little moisture.
Heaven knows we needed it.
And while we are thankful for what we got, it’s obvious that the precipitation some of us received this past week was no where near enough or wide spread enough to break the drought that is continuing to develop in the Southern Plains. With that it mind, it would probably behoove us all to consider a little drought planning as we move out of the winter months and into the spring.
Throughout the region we are currently seeing the expansion of dry conditions and with them an increase in wildfire danger, stress to water supplies and pressure on winter wheat. In fact, in a recent podcast episode Victor Murphy with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth even made the comment that IF (and that’s a big if) we don’t see somewhere close to average precipitation in May and June we could be in for a real problem, especially in light of the trend for increasing average temperatures that we are seeing in the region.
So, since the best time to prepare for a drought is before you are in one (although I’m a little late on that) and since my talking about a drought generally causes rain (or snow), I want to encourage everyone to take some time and give some thought to being prepared for dry weather.
Do you have a drought plan? Do you have an idea of how you will handle livestock if dry conditions continue to persist? Do you have adequate feed, forage and water? Where are you at with your risk management tools for both your crops and livestock? Have you taken steps to “fire-wise” your home, your outbuildings and the like? If you are in the path of a wildfire, do you have a plan for moving livestock, protecting hay and equipment and protecting your home and family?
If you’re interested, our partners at USDA and the Cooperative Extension Service have tons of information and tips for you to consider-in an earlier blog post we wrote about some of the suggestions Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has on drought planning here; Oklahoma State University Extension has some great wildfire information here; the Noble Research Institute has some useful resources for drought planning here; we even have some videos with NRCS personnel talking about dry weather strategies here and here. If you want to strategize further out not just for drought, but for all extreme weather, you can check out the NRCS climate adaption workbook here.
I guess where I going with this is that now is the time to give a little thought to dealing with drought. With any luck, my writing about dry weather will bring on the rain but if not, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure.
You never want to build a boat in a flood; you never want to try and buy insurance in the middle of a tornado; and you never want to wait until an extreme drought to plan for dry weather. Now is the time to give it some thought.