From The Sterling Journal-Advocate (Jeff Rice):
Drought conditions in Colorado and across the western United States aren’t expected to improve much, if any, in the coming year, prompting state and federal agencies to launch new efforts to help agricultural producers survive the growing drought problem.
Retta Brugger, Colorado State University range extension specialist, and Julie Elliott, a USDA rangeland management specialist, issued a bulletin earlier this week warning ranchers that they may want to lower their stocking on rangeland. The scientists cited a matrix of data called a “decision tree” that shows climate conditions are poised to continue the drought at least through the spring…
On Thursday morning the U.S. Drought Monitor showed serious to severe conditions are to persist across Colorado for the foreseeable future. In map after map and graph after graph, climatologists and forecasters show lower levels of precipitation, inadequate snowpack and rising temperatures. The Drought Monitor is produced through a partnership among the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska‐Lincoln, the United States Department of Agriculture, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
In the Midwest and High Plains sectors, which includes eastern Colorado up to the Foothills, little or no precipitation fell this week, outside parts of eastern North Dakota. Almost the entire region was unchanged compared to last week keeping most areas intact. Exceptions were found in eastern North Dakota, where light precipitation was sufficient to reduce the extent of drought conditions. Farther west, small areas of deterioration were noted in north-central Wyoming and the west-central Dakotas.
According to Brad Rippey, USDA meteorologist, around 46 percwent of the U.S. is experiencing moderate drought or worse. The seasonal drought outlook calls for continued dry conditions for nearly the entire western half of the U.S…
Meanwhile, state and federal officials are offering guidance, especially to agricultural producers, on how to survive the drought. In Colorado farmers and ranchers throughout the state can call or text (970) 988-0043 or email email@example.com to be connected to resources and a team to help address short and long-term drought conditions.
Colorado State University will offer a two-hour “Planning for Drought” presentation in early February.
Scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 2, the program will include presentations from legal, technical and planning professionals as well as grower-led drought preparation discussions and networking.
To participate, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The program is in partnership with CSU Extension, Agricultural Experiment stations, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Colorado Ag Water Alliance and the Colorado Water Conservation Board.