1. Drought is inevitable
Drought is a natural part of climate in nearly every region on Earth. It has occurred in the past and will do so again. Livestock and forage producers can reduce their vulnerability to drought.
Drought will always be a nemesis for the range livestock industry, especially for producers who become complacent during wet cycles. Producers need to capitalize on the good years and make timely adjustments when drought occurs. Management flexibility and pre-drought planning are critical for creating resilient operations.
2. Drought planning can help you make a profit
Drought and heat waves have cost this country more than $150 billion dollars from 1980 to 20061. Social and environmental impacts are also significant, although it is difficult to put a precise cost on these less direct effects. Nonetheless, the impacts of drought, like those of other natural hazards, can be reduced through mitigation and preparedness or “risk management”.
The fundamental objectives of drought management are to (1) minimize damage to rangeland and seeded pasture resources during and after drought and (2) reduce the risk of economic loss and social stress. Ranchers who achieve both of these objectives can quickly capitalize on additional forage in good years. Damage to vegetation and other natural resources is reduced and potential profit is increased when ranchers make timely decisions. Natural hazard studies have shown that, in general, every dollar spent up-front on hazard preparedness saves about $4 dollars down the road in reduced impacts.
3. Drought planning can make operations more self-reliant
Planning ahead to better prepare for and respond to drought gives producers the chance to proactively deal with drought, instead of relying so heavily on emergency measures and government assistance during times of drought.
Crisis decisions can be avoided with timely evaluation of alternatives and implementation of sound drought management plans. Success depends upon viewing drought as a normal part of the range livestock production environment, not as a catastrophic event.
4. Drought plans may be required
1 $151.5 billion dollars according to the National Climatic Data Center’s U.S. Billion Dollar Weather Disasters web site