Farmers, ranchers and growers in Fremont County, like those in many regions across Colorado, are no strangers to drought. Since the beginning of 2018, Fremont has only had 24 weeks that weren’t classified by the U.S. Drought Monitor as “Abnormally Dry” or worse, with the county experiencing severe drought more often than not.
So, what does “normal” mean in times of drought?
“As we’re getting less and less precipitation, people just want their water. As an owner of water shares myself, I get that,” said Jeramy McNeely, CSU Extension Director for Fremont County. “But the reality is there just isn’t as much water as there used to be.”
“No one likes to hear the word ‘conservation’ when they’re trying to produce as much as possible,” McNeely said. “However, reducing the amount of water needed to run your business effectively, or sustain your property, is a critical step in staying competitive and maintaining your operations long-term.”
To help people in Fremont and other nearby counties understand what drought resiliency strategies will work best for their specific situations, McNeely tapped into CSU Extension’s extensive network of experts. The result? A two-day symposium bringing together local and statewide leaders with deep insights into current agriculture trends, business best practices, water resource management, soil health, rangeland management and more.
The Drought Resiliency Symposium will offer invaluable insights into topics that are necessary to understanding the long-term effects of drought, as well as what can be done on an individual level to reduce the negative impacts.
“This is a way to give people the tools and knowledge they need to make their operations more resilient when times are good – like by establishing healthy soil that can hold moisture for a longer period of time – so when drought comes back around, you, your land and your business are ready,” McNeely said.
“Drought is a subject we can no longer outrun. But, with preparation, the right resources, and community connections, we can make those tough choices easier and reduce the uncertainty about what the next year might bring,” McNeely said. “Whether you are a cattle producer, hay producer, small acreage manager, or even a gardener, there will be information that is relevant to helping you succeed.”
5:00 pm to 8:30 pm: Sessions, dinner, networking
How Shifting Climate and Weather Patterns Will Impact Agriculture in the Future
Dr. Logan Thompson, Postdoctoral Fellow
Beyond the Horizon: Regional Drought Implications
Blake Osborn, Research Scientist
Colorado Water Center
8:30 am to 2 pm: Sessions, breakfast and lunch, networking
How Can Understanding Land Potential Increase Drought Resiliency?
Jeff Herrick, Soil Scientist
USDA-ARS Range Management Research Unit
We Live in Drought
Josh Tashiro, Rangeland Management Specialist
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service
Building Drought Resilience into the Ranch: A Case Study of the Taylor Oswald Ranch in Fremont County
Annie Overlin, Regional Range Specialist
Strategies for Your Cow Herd During Times of Drought
Jeff Tranel, Agricultural and Business Management Economist
Weeds in Drought
Kara Karders, Small Acreage Management Specialist
CSU Extension, Fremont County