National Drought Mitigation Center

Strategies to Prepare for Drought

There are many strategies that you could use to achieve your overall objectives, and to reduce the impacts experienced in drought. With only a limited amount of money, time, and energy, how do you decide which to tackle?

As you think through best management practices to implement before drought, you may want to consider

  1. Does it move you towards your vision or goals? 
    Drought planning is just one piece of your overall ranch vision and goals, but can help you achieve your goals if you keep them in mind.
  2. Is it feasible? 
    Reflecting back on your inventory of your ranch resources, and the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats you identified, is this strategy something you can realistically do?
  3. Will it make an impact? 
    To explore what other producers and advisors have identified as being effective strategies to prepare for drought, see "Before Drought."
  4. Do the benefits outweigh costs? 
    Financial decision making tools may help you identify the costs and benefits of proposed projects, and help you see the larger financial implications of your decision.

Best Management Practices to Consider:

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Improving Forage Resources
The goals of these practices are to improve hydrologic condition, plant vigor, and species diversity; and to identify and develop feed resources that would be available during drought.

Modifying the Herd or Enterprise Mix
 The goals of these practices are to match seasonally high feed needs with seasonally high levels of feed resources, and to add flexibility and alternative revenue streams during drought.

Modifying Grazing Strategy
 The goals of these practices are to improve pasture condition, and meet livestock production goals and financial goals.

Improving Water and Infrastructure Resources
 The goals of these practices are to support grazing systems that meet pasture health and livestock production goals, and to improve reliability of water sources during drought.

 Improving Financial Resources
The goals of these practices are to improve overall financial health and to manage finances in a way that helps the ranch financially survive drought.

Next Step:  Developing Strategies for Responding to Drought