National Drought Mitigation Center

Before Drought

This section contains information about management steps you can take to maximize the overall health, resilience, and productivity of your ranch operation. 

Healthy systems are better able to tolerate drought. Incorporating the likelihood of periodic drought into your overall ranch plan and grazing strategy will increase the likelihood that your pastures, livestock, finances, and family will successfully make it through the next one.

Start Here Before Drought

Ranch Goals & Strategic Plan

Drought is only one of the management challenges that ranchers need to plan for.  It is important that the decisions you make before, during, and after drought fit into your overall plan. The decisions you make before, during, and after drought should help move you closer to the vision or goals that you have for your ranch.

Grazing Management

Implementing a grazing strategy that increases vigor and abundance of desirable forage species and that improves hydrological condition of the range is one of the most effective ways you can prepare for drought.

Forage Resources

To further improve pasture resources, you may need to remove undesirable shrubs or trees, overseed pastures, or plant new pasture land. You may also want to consider annual forages and irrigated pasture as part of a drought management plan.