Texas ranchers Gary and Sue Price began noticing disruptive changes in the weather in about 2007, with dry periods getting drier and hot periods getting hotter. So they began making management decisions that would help their ranch adapt. As a result, when the crippling drought of 2011–2012 arrived, they were able to get by.
“You just don’t know what’s around the next corner, so you have to prepare for the worst,” Gary Price says. “Hope for the best of course, but you know, hope is not a plan.”
Like the Prices, farmers and ranchers throughout the United States are looking for adaptation strategies as changes in weather make it more challenging to produce crops and livestock. To get an idea of what you might do, check out SARE’s newest publication, Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches. It provides an overview of strategies to manage the climate risk their operations face.
Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches includes helpful tables describing changing regional weather patterns throughout the United States and the risks that these changes present to crop and livestock production. The 28-page publication also outlines how to evaluate the climate risk your operation faces and how to identify practices that can reduce those risks and improve resilience.
The Prices, for example, responded to hotter, drier conditions in Texas by adopting planned grazing to restore degraded soils and native tallgrass prairies, reducing herd size, leasing more land and experimenting with mixed cover crops. This approach reflects a key aspect of climate risk management as outlined in Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches. Rather than trying to rely on a single solution to threats posed by changing weather conditions, your farm or ranch becomes more resilient when you start thinking holistically about how to manage your land and business in the face of uncertainty.
Download or order your free print copy of Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches or call (301) 779-1007. Cultivating Climate Resilience on Farms and Ranches is also available to educators in quantity for use in educational workshops, classes or tours.