The National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) traveled to Washington State for a RMA drought informational workshop that highlighted and obtained feedback for the Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDRI) project and also introduced the more recent Vegetation Drought Response Outlook (VegOut) project. Participants at this listening session had varying demographic backgrounds, representing producers, agri-business, University of Washington extension, and also the region’s Risk Management Agency Office. The listening session included one individual from Northern Oregon as well. Public participation methods included the use of an audience response system, along with pre-developed questions which both aided in greater discussion and feedback from the group.
Individuals had a positive initial impression of the overall value of VegDRI especially in livestock management. They also indicated that they would be likely to use VegDRI to assist them in making management decisions, stating that they would like to help get the word out about the tool and also be actively involved in incorporating it into its ongoing evaluation. Other useful components of VegDRI that were discussed included marketing their crops, to glean information on the conditions in other areas of the United States, to make decisions related to crop rotation and irrigation budgeting, adjusting feed supplies, and for drought planning.