Survey Looks for New Solutions, Better Research to Manage Drought

Colorado State University is surveying farmers and ranchers about how they are managing their businesses during the current drought. The random, anonymous survey will help Colorado State researchers improve the educational programs they offer to farmers and ranchers, better design programs to address future issues caused by the drought and explore new strategies that agriculturalists may have developed.

"We’ve heard of strategies that creative farmers and ranchers have developed to manage their operations and remain in business," said Marshall Fraiser, Colorado State Cooperative Extension economist. "In addition to knowing that there are good strategies out there that we may be unaware of, we want to be sure that the management information we are sharing with farmers and ranchers is helpful and complete. We’ll use the surveys to direct future research and programs."

The surveys also will ask about when farmers and ranchers began to hear that Colorado was in a drought cycle and how they got that information. The survey specifically asks about water issues, grazing strategies, land leases and opportunities to make a profit. Information from the survey will be analyzed this winter. The information also will be used by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, the Colorado Drought Task Force and professional water managers.

"We value the information that farmers and ranchers can provide to us about strategies they used and how Colorado State can better develop and share information with them in the future," said Eric Schuck, assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.

The surveys, titled "Weathering Tough Times," will be sent out to 3,500 farmers and ranchers the week of Oct. 21. The survey is sponsored by Colorado State University Agricultural Experiment Station, Colorado State Cooperative Extension and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder.