The decisions you make before, during, and after drought should help move you closer to the vision and objectives that you have for your ranch.
A vision statement provides clear direction about “where the business is headed.” (Gates, Dunn et al. 2007) Dealing with drought is just one management aspect of the overall ranch business. Developing a ranch vision and strategic plan for the ranch makes it possible for the manager to fit drought planning into this larger plan.
The strategic planning process outlined in "Strategic and Scenario Planning in Ranching: Managing Risk in Dynamic Times" (Gates, Dunn et al 2007) includes:
- conducting an inventory of ranch resources,
- looking at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with the ranch,
- establishing a vision,
- establishing strategies to achieve the ranch vision, and
- considering various scenarios that the ranch might face (like drought).
With a Strategic Plan in hand, the rest of the steps to drought planning will fall into place fairly easily. Producers who have gone through a planning process agree that it is worth the time.
You do not need to develop a whole ranch strategic plan on your own. Your county extension or NRCS office, or private consultant, may also be able to help you think through your goals. Find Extension, NRCS, Consultants by State.