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Workshop to focus on managing drought


Producers, mark your calendar for Dec. 11 and 12 and plan to attend a unique and comprehensive Managing Drought Workshop series in Wray, Colo.

This workshop series begins with a session the afternoon of Dec. 11 and a separate session that evening. A final session on Dec. 12 will wrap up the series. Anyone may attend any part or all of the workshop sections.

There is no registration fee to attend the workshop series but pre-registration by Dec. 5 is required to ensure your meal.

Meet Matt Stockton on Dec. 11 at 2 p.m. at the Wray City Hall. Registration will begin at 1:30 p.m. Stockton is an economist with UNL who has a high-energy entertaining style that will make this subject understandable and enjoyable. He will lead us through the thought processes of drought and the value of understanding the impact of the different choices on the ranch business using a tool known as the "Calf Cost Cow-Q-Lator."

One of the hardest things to do is to know that a drought is happening. This is where the Cow-Calf Cost Cow-Q-Lator can be helpful. This Excel spreadsheet helps you look at your expected profit (or loss) given current and expected conditions. Variables in this tool include but are not limited to, hay and range cost, amount of feed fed, calf weaning size, and price. The spreadsheet results give the profit estimates ranging over 500 possible outcomes given producer supplied numbers. Attendees will go through an example using this worksheet as a group. This example will be reflective of attendees local conditions and prices. This tool is available on the web as a free download.

After a provided dinner, the workshop series will continue at 6:30 p.m. at the USDA Service Center with an introduction to various web resources led by Pat Reece. Reece is a highly sought after speaker who was a research scientist and range specialist for many years with the University of Nebraska Panhandle Research and Extension Center. Reece will explain why ranchers should know how to use website resources to gain information vital to making informed drought plan decisions. Attendees will have hands on opportunity with each of the websites so they can go home and use them. Computers will be available, or you may bring your own laptop. The Service Center is located near the Sandhiller Motel just north of the railroad tracks off of Highway 385.

On Dec. 12, we will meet again at the Wray City Hall with registration, coffee and rolls at 8:30 a.m. The workshop will begin at 9 a.m. and close at 3:30 p.m. Reece will teach attendees about drought indicators, plant drought response, and drought planning. Attendees will learn how to answer critical questions including:

--How much moisture do we need?

--How do I decide how many animals I can run next summer?

--When can I decide?

The Dec. 12 workshop will empower attendees to take drought "by the horns" by making a drought plan for their ranch.

Plan to attend this workshop series whether you own rangeland and cattle, you are a landlord who leases range, or you are leasing the range for your cattle operation. The youth are particularly invited to attend.

For more information or to register, go to the Yuma County Conservation District website at or email If you prefer to talk to a live person, call 970-332-3173, ext. 3, between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. MST. You may also call anytime to leave a message and receive a return phone call.

Pre-registration by Dec. 5 is required to insure an accurate count for meals.

This workshop series is sponsored by the Yuma County Conservation District and the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Date: 11/19/2012


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