They say that acceptance of the problem is the first step in dealing with it. I suppose that could be said of an addiction or of drought. I think over the past few weeks, many farmers have been in denial. We’ve kept our eyes upward, hoping and praying for a crop-saving rain. But, as I spoke with my neighbors and farming friends over the past week, I’ve noticed a marked change in attitude.
Most of the farmers have given up the anxiety of waiting for rain. They have come to the realization that the rains will come some day in the future, but they will come too late for the corn, and maybe too late to offer any reasonable chance of fall grazing in drought ravaged pastures.
That realization in some ways is a relief. Our bodies have become somewhat accustomed to 100+ degree temperatures on a daily basis, and producers are figuring budgets, planning for forages, destocking when necessary and developing ways to keep things together during this terrible disaster.
It is comforting to most of us that we are all in it together. This fact does not fix some major, unpleasant decisions that have to made, including perhaps selling off a cow herd that it took years to build. Emotionally, this is a huge defeat, and one that many beef producers are facing for the first time in their lives.
Churches and communities are not only praying for rain and relief from the extreme heat, but we are all praying that we can keep our families fed and safe, and that our farms and ranches financially survive the challenges ahead.
This week will be another huge tax on our collective psyche, as temperatures continue to soar and small, spotty rains at best pop up on the horizon. In any case, accepting our situation will help us make more informed decisions down the road that can eventually keep our operations financially healthy and our families emotionally healthy.
Be sure to watch www.nebraskafarmer.com and our August print issue of Nebraska Farmer for more news, information and tips on meeting the challenges of drought. Check out the Farm Progress drought site at www.DatelineDrought.com.