Even though the grass is green again in most places in the Dakotas, it's never too early to plan for the next drought.
SDSU Extension will host four Drought Risk Management Workshops for cattle, sheep and other livestock producers in Hot Springs Oct. 8, in Lemmon Oct. 9, in Gettysburg Oct. 10 and in Winner Oct. 11.
"These workshops are designed for ranchers to help them develop and write drought management and mitigation plans for their own operations," says Laura Edwards, SDSU Extension Climate Field Specialist. "We are planning a hands-on workshop that will give ranchers the tools they need to create a drought plan that fits their own needs and goals."
Weather conditions can change quickly and Edwards advocates that it is always a good time to plan for drought. The recent example of the 2012 drought is particularly acute for some South Dakota ranchers. Management decisions can have impacts that last long beyond the duration of the drought itself.
The workshops are designed around a planning book that is available from the University of Nebraska's National Drought Mitigation Center. The book, titled "Managing Drought Risk on the Ranch," is a guide for ranchers in the Great Plains region.
Edwards says this is an opportunity to learn first-hand from some of the authors and contributors of the guidebook. Cody Knutson from the National Drought Mitigation Center and Roger Gates, SDSU Range Management Specialist, will both be presenting at the workshops.
Workshop content will include presentations on: monitoring weather/climate; measuring grass/forage productivity; Pasture, Range, Forage Rainfall Index insurance; rangeland best management practices; and the SD Drought Tool.
"The insurance piece is especially timely," says Edwards. "Producers will need to make their insurance choices by Nov. 15 this year."
Matt Diersen, SDSU Risk/Business Management Specialist, will present a research-based method for choosing Pasture, Range, Forage insurance that is recommended by his group.
These workshops are a collaborative effort between SDSU Extension and University of Nebraska - National Drought Mitigation Center, Natural Resources Conservation Service and South Dakota Grassland Coalition. Funding for the workshop series was provided by the North Central Risk Management Education Center, the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, National Integrated Drought Information System, and Farm Credit Services of America.
Each one-day workshop will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Oct. 8, Hot Springs workshop will be held at The Nature Conservancy's Whitney Preserve, 28077 Cascade Road.
Oct. 9, Lemmon workshop will be held at the SDSU Extension Regional Center in Lemmon, 408 Eighth St W.
Oct. 10, Gettyburg workshop will be held at Lucy's, 117 W Commercial Ave.
Oct. 11, Winner workshop will be held at SDSU Extension Regional Center in Winner, 325 S. Monroe St.
The workshops are offered at no cost to participants. Free online registration is available.
Drought planning guidebooks, rain gauges, and soil infiltration kits will be provided to participants that pre-register. For more information contact Laura Edwards, Extension Climate Field Specialist at 605-626-2870 or email@example.com.