CSU Begins Drought Study

Colorado State University recently announced it was starting a $35,000 agricultural study into the impact of the recent drought on Colorado agriculture, as well as possible ways to cope with extremely dry weather in the future.

This spring and summer saw the worst drought in recent American memory. Farmers from California to Ohio saw their crops wither in the face of record high temperatures and record low precipitation. With more than 1,000 counties being declared disaster areas, the final cost of the drought is expected to be astronomical.

Like many states in the Southwest, Colorado was hit hard by the drought. In addition to dry weather punishing crops, long stretches of hot, dry weather mades the state more susceptible to wildfires.  

“The question we ultimately want to address is, ‘How do we improve the resiliency of agriculture and rural communities in Colorado?’ because we expect more drought. We really want to take the temperature of what this drought has meant to farmers, ranchers and rural communities,” said James Pritchett, who is a CSU Extension specialist in farm and ranch management. “That helps us design assistance going into the future.”

In addition to surveying the losses incurred, the study will look at how many farmers could be forced out of business in case of a new drought and how many farmers have contingency plans in case of another prolonged drought.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer