Register today for free webinar “Preparing for Drought”

Tornado precautions are best taken well before the tornado arrives. The same holds true with blizzards. So why wait for a drought to create a plan for dealing with it?

The “Preparing for Drought” Webinar is scheduled for 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Central), May 18. This free webinar hosted by the Drought Learning Network and partners will include presentations and opportunities to ask questions on:

  • Oklahoma conditions and drought outlook for Summer 2021
  • Online tools for monitoring drought conditions
  • Monitoring precipitation at your location
  • Native pasture and rangeland management strategies to minimize drought impact
  • Long-term adaptation planning and tools.

To register today, please go to:

Last Thursday’s U.S Drought Monitor shows that 17 percent of Oklahoma is currently experiencing Moderate to Extreme Drought. That’s compared to only 11 percent three months ago.

There are areas in Oklahoma, as of Monday, that have gone more than 45 consecutive days with less than a quarter inch of rainfall.

“The purpose of the webinar is drought awareness and to explain to producers about how to get prepared for the drought and where they can get the information they need,” Jimmy Emmons, Oklahoma Conservation Commission Soil Health Mentoring Coordinator. “We have experienced a significant drought in recent years. Typically, producers are either several months or one or two years into the drought before they realize they are in it and they continue to do what they’ve been doing for a while because they think it’s going to rain. This is more of an approach that it may not rain and here’s the long-term forecast, and this is what your plan could look like if it doesn’t rain.”

Katie Goetz helps with the Southwest Drought Learning Network because it overlaps with her work in natural resources for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. She said the Southwest Drought Learning Network “brings together information that helps in preparing for drought, mitigating it, responding to it and recovering from drought.”

“So, when we get requests from various parties that need this information, we can reach out to one another and we can connect the best resources,” Goetz said. “That’s really what it is meant to do is facilitate that exchange of information and step back and let the local folks benefit from one another’s knowledge.”

Partners coming together for the webinar include: Oklahoma Conservation Commission,  Oklahoma State University Natural Resources, USDA Climate Hubs, Oklahoma Climatological Survey, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), National Drought Mitigation Center – University of Nebraska, College of the Muscogee Nation, CoCoRaHS, the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Oka’ The Water Institute at East Central University, Sustainable Southwest Beef and Agroecosystem Resilience In Times of Drought (ARID). Several of these partners also participate in the Drought Learning Network.

The intended audience includes ranchers and farmers, the Oklahoma Conservation Districts, Farm Bureau, The Nature Conservancy, the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service and others.

“You are going to hear from Gary McManus, our state climatologist,” Emmons said. “He’s going to give you a short overview of where we’ve been and where we’re at and a glimpse into the future of the weather cycle that we’re in. You’re also going to hear from the Grass-Cast which is a new tool which will help you forecast how much tonnage, forage, you have for the future. You’ll also hear from a local Climate Hub about how we adapt in going forward. There are a lot of great presenters in bullet-point 10-minute sessions. So, it’s going to be fast and interactive. We’ll have questions in the chatroom as well.”

“This is a way for producers and agencies to help producers get through the drought,” Emmons said.