WWA/NIDIS Webinar: Decision making in the face of drought by western range livestock producers
William R. Travis and Trisha Shrum
Western Water Assessment and Earth Lab
University of Colorado Boulder
Ranchers make a large number of time-sensitive decisions each year and can vary their choices in the face of drought throughout the production cycle. Ranchers’ drought decisions may also be affected by USDA’s new Pasture Rangeland and Forest insurance program, a rainfall-index product meant to compensate for added feed costs during drought.
We use multiple ranch decision models to simulate the effectiveness of drought adaptations under different rainfall and forage conditions, and with or without range insurance. The results include annual profit and end-of-year net worth after drought responses on a typical Great Plains-Rocky Mountain cow/calf ranch. The simulations illuminate the role of adaptation costs, insurance, and drought early warning in the decision-making process. We also examine alternative drought indices and the effect of drought on cattle markets, both of which feed back to rancher decisions.
This webinar will:
Review resource decisions in the face of drought, focusing on range livestock production
Examine decision models available to ranchers
Demonstrate new ranching decision models developed especially for drought, incorporating climate information and the role of range insurance
Discuss next steps in the use of drought early warning in range and other resource sectors