From The Denver Post (Wilson Beese):
We’re halfway through April and the longer days are warming up the soil, so Colorado farmers and ranchers are starting to plant.
But a quick look at the drought map for Colorado shows why agriculture producers are concerned for the future of their crops. Almost 90 percent of the state is in a moderate drought.
What makes this April stand out is how much land is an extreme or exceptional drought — nearly a third of the state. In the 21-year history of the U.S. Drought Monitor, only Colorado’s 2013 drought shows more D3 and D4 conditions in April…
Les Owen, the conservation services division director with the Colorado Department of Agriculture, said the drought conditions are “extremely concerning” for farmers and ranchers.
“Last year during the critical growing times when we needed moisture, there just wasn’t much in most areas of the state,” Owen said. “So folks have already been punched in the gut pretty hard from drought.”
Owen noted that last year’s wildfires burned swaths of federal land that ranchers usually graze their cattle on.