The Role of Drought Preparedness in Improving the Sustainability of Great Plains Ranches

Project Overview

Project Type: Professional Development Program
Funds awarded in 2011: $56,366.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2013
Region: North Central
State: Nebraska
Project Coordinator:
Tonya Haigh
National Drought Mitigation Center

Annual Reports


  • Agronomic: corn, soybeans, wheat, grass (misc. perennial), hay
  • Additional Plants: native plants
  • Animals: bovine


  • Animal Production: grazing management, range improvement, stocking rate, watering systems, feed/forage
  • Education and Training: decision support system, extension, workshop
  • Farm Business Management: whole farm planning, risk management

    Proposal abstract:

    “The Role of Drought Preparedness in Improving the Sustainability of Great Plains Ranches” will increase the technical support available to help rangeland managers mitigate and plan for drought in ways that enhance ecological, economic, and social sustainability. Technical support is currently inadequate, despite evidence that sustainable ranching practices and advance planning are necessary for limiting drought losses and damages on the ranch. The project will increase educator and professional awareness of drought mitigation and planning for sustainable ranch management; knowledge of drought mitigation and planning strategies that improve ranch sustainability; and ability to use monitoring and decision-making tools. To meet these objectives, the National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) will work with an established multi-state advisory group of ranchers, advisors, and researchers to develop and deliver a series of five to six interactive webinars. The webinar series will be targeted to range educators, advisors, and professional land managers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas. Webinars will also be edited, archived, and posted for public viewing online through a new drought planning website for ranchers developed by the NDMC and the project partners. Evaluation of short- and intermediate-term outcomes will be measured through electronic pre- and post-webinar surveys, and follow up surveys six months after the webinar series is compete.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    Professional development impacting 100 agricultural professionals and educators
    Short term Outcomes
    1. Participants will demonstrate an increased awareness of the need for (and effectiveness of) drought planning in improving sustainability of ranch operations
    2. Participants will demonstrate an increased knowledge of drought planning methods
    3. Participants will demonstrate increased knowledge of, and ability to use, available monitoring, decision-making and drought planning tools
    Intermediate term
    1. Participants will demonstrate an increased amount time spent talking with producers about drought mitigation and planning activities
    2. Participants will demonstrate increased use of the featured monitoring, decision-making, and drought planning tools
    3. Participants will demonstrate progress in developing a drought plan, as a consultant, advisor, or end user

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.