Well, I’m writing about drought again, so it might be smart for everyone reading this to consider building an ark…

As I was writing these words in February, there was a storm front making its way into the Southern Plains that brought some parts of the region at least a little moisture. Heaven knows we needed it.

And while we are thankful for what we got, it’s obvious that the precipitation some of us received was no where near enough or widespread enough to break the drought that is continuing to develop in the Southern Plains. With that it mind, it would probably behoove us all to consider a little drought planning as we move out of the winter months and into the spring. 

Throughout the region, we are currently seeing the expansion of dry conditions, prompting an increase in wildfire danger, stress to water supplies and pressure on winter wheat. In fact, in a recent podcast episode, Victor Murphy with the National Weather Service in Fort Worth even made the comment that if we don’t see somewhere close to average precipitation in May and June, we could be in for a real problem, especially in light of the increasing average temperatures in the region.

Since the best time to prepare for a drought is before you are in one (although I’m a little late on that), I want to encourage everyone to give some thought to being prepared for dry weather. Ask yourself the following questions to help prepare: 

  • Do you have a drought plan?  
  • Do you have an idea of how you will handle livestock if dry conditions continue to persist?  
  • Do you have adequate feed, forage and water?
  • Where are you at with your risk management tools for both your crops and livestock?
  • Have you taken steps to “fire-wise” your home, your outbuildings and the like?  
  • If you are in the path of a wildfire, do you have a plan for moving livestock and protecting hay, equipment, your home and your family?

If you’re interested, our partners at USDA and the Cooperative Extension Service have tons of information and tips for you to consider. I wrote about some of the suggestions Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has on drought planning here.

Oklahoma State University Extension has some great wildfire information here, and the Noble Research Institute has some useful resources for drought planning here. There are even have some videos with NRCS personnel talking about dry weather strategies here and here.  

If you want to strategize for all types of extreme weather, you can check out the NRCS climate adaption workbook here.

Now is the time to give a little thought to dealing with drought. With any luck, my writing about dry weather will bring on the rain, but if not, an ounce of prevention is always worth a pound of cure.