In response to a request by a farmer, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension has launched an electronic bulletin board that allows farmers and ranchers from across the state and country to talk with each other about the current drought.
The Weathering Tough Times bulletin board is available at http://www.ext.colostate.edu/messageboard/. The message board is available to anyone wanting to discuss the physical, emotional and financial effects of the drought with others across the state.
"We hope that this bulletin board serves as a way for farmers and ranchers who are experiencing tough times with the current drought to talk to others farmers and ranchers, to listen to each other and to get support for what they are experiencing," said Bob Fetsch, Colorado State Cooperative Extension family studies specialist. "The bulletin board is also a forum for anyone impacted by the drought, from rural business owners to agribusiness employees to the forest and natural resources industries."
When there is drought, particularly one as severe as this cycle, there is human stress, Fetsch added. He says that one of the more effective ways to deal with tough times is to communicate with others and ask for their support. "The message board is meant to provide a new way for agriculturalists to connect with and to give support to one another."
Messages can be posted on the bulletin board with real names or pseudo names to protect the privacy of participants.
The spring and summer of 2002 have been among the worst drought cycles in recorded history in the state. The impacts of the dry weather, which follow two previous dry summers, have been significant on the agriculture, tourism and recreation, wildlife and horticulture industries. The drought, coupled with effects of one of the worst fire seasons in the state, is expected to continue on some level into the winter and next summer.