Rangelands

When in Drought… Real Talk with Ranchers

Just over 60 percent of the U.S. was in some degree of drought as of May 24, 2022,
according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. What’s worse is that over half of the country reached
drought status back in the summer of 2020 and has remained there since. Given such, drought has
been cussed and discussed in depth for the past two summers, but Good Grazing Makes Cent$, a
new program by the Society for Range Management, along with the Ranchers Stewardship
Alliance, planned a unique panel discussion driven specifically by real ranchers, with real
questions, answered by real experts.
Joined live by over 85 other ranchers and range managers on June 8, “When in Drought… Real Talk with Ranchers” was streamed on Facebook and YouTube. The live discussion covered planning for drought, marketing cattle during drought, managing grass through drought, and more.
The panel was moderated by Dave Voth, a ranch manager in Nevada, who experienced firsthand
the tough decisions drought brings to an operation last summer.
“This is the year that I’ve learned probably as much as I’m ever going to learn about drought,” Voth
said late last summer. “I’ve learned all the things I should have done and wish I would have
planned out better. Going through the steps of planning for drought and trying to maintain that
upper hand both with your grass and your marketability of your calves every year starts in the year
before drought.”
While much of the U.S. is in the midst of drought right now, there is still value in planning ahead
and resources to help make the best decisions for your operation in the months ahead.
Panelist ShayLe Stewart, DTN Livestock Market Analyst and founder of Cattle Market News, helped viewers understand the many dynamics impacting the cattle markets and how to take these
into consideration when making challenging marketing decisions during drought.
Grace Woodmansee, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor at UC Cooperative Extension,
Siskiyou County, further explained the “Drought Decision Support Tool” and how both planning
ahead while practicing flexibility during drought can help avoid sunken costs.
Ranchers Stewardship Alliance (RSA) Conservation Coordinator Martin Townsend added
perspective on best management practices for range conservation and further explained the 15-step
drought plan RSA member Dale Veseth of Malta, Montana, created and recently implemented
during last summer’s drought.
The event was focused on real conversation, so panelists briefly presented, leaving plenty of time
for live questions and answers which were submitted by commenting during the
livestream.
The recording of the livestream can be found at the Good Grazing Makes Cent$ Youtube Channel and directly at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WagKfZh04h8&t=2418s.


Good Grazing Makes Cent$ was launched by the Society for Range Management in January 2022 to
provide practical, applicable, and economically feasible range management solutions which can
ultimately improve productivity of the land and the bottom dollar of the ranch through
conversation and collaboration between range scientists and ranchers. Membership is $75 per year
or $50 to individuals that are members of participating livestock associations. Learn more about it
at goodgrazing.org.
Ranchers Stewardship Alliance is a nonprofit based in Malta, Montana, with the mission to
promote the ecological, social, and economic conditions that will sustain the biodiversity and
integrity of America’s northern mixed-grass prairie for present and future generations. Learn
more about it at ranchstewards.org.

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