Jeff Zimprich walks through a stand of grass
MORE GREEN: Jeff Zimprich, South Dakota NRCS state conservationist, walks through a stand of grass in a draw in the Coteau Hills in northeast South Dakota.

Planning for drought: Using the tools to lessen the impact

South Dakota’s NRCS conservationist advocates for a new way to get more drought tools at work on the land.

Will there be a drought again in the Northern Plains next year? No one knows sure. But some farmers and ranchers are making plans for one.

There are many practices that can reduce the drought’s impact and speed the land’s recovery, says Jeff Zimprich, South Dakota’s Natural Resources Conservation Service state conservationist. “We have the tools,” he says. “It’s a matter of using them.”

Zimprich is a member of the South Dakota Drought Task Force. He is urging the task force to look to the next drought once its job of marshalling drought aid and relief for this one is over.


JEFF ZIMPRICH

Zimprich would like to see the task force select a drought prone area — a region, county, community or perhaps a watershed — and concentrate educational programs, demonstration projects and state and federal cost-sharing programs there to help producers adopt no-till, intensive grazing and soil health practices that mitigate the impact of drought. If the effort is successful, it could be scaled up to cover the whole state or be moved to another high-risk area.

“We can make our farms and ranches more resilient,” he says. “This is doable.”

Will there be a drought again in the Northern Plains next year? No one knows sure. But some farmers and ranchers are making plans for one.

Today’s drought strategies should reflect the boom in corn acres in the Dakotas, says Greg Lardy, head of the North Dakota State University Animal Science Department.

OTHER ARTICLES IN THE SERIES:

3 steps a South Dakota rancher takes to always be ready for dry times.

How a North Dakota rancher tripled forage production.

Research Center makes changes to hang on to every last drop of rain that falls.

Take advantage of the increase in corn acres.

Hide comments

Comments

  • Allowed HTML tags: <em> <strong> <blockquote> <br> <p>

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
Publish