July rains have not provided enough moisture to allow rangelands and crops to adequately recover, and much of the state remains in drought conditions, according to Colorado State University Cooperative Extension experts. Resources to help farmers, ranchers, home gardeners and others deal with drought and related issues are available at www.drought.colostate.edu.
The U.S. drought monitor indicates that much of Colorado is abnormally dry, and the southeastern area of the state remains in extreme drought. Much of the state’s agricultural land has not recovered from extremely dry conditions of recent years, with below average precipitation since 1998.
Currently, 44 of Colorado’s 64 counties have primary or contiguous drought disaster designations from the secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. These designations invoke emergency programs designed to help affected farmers and ranchers.
"Colorado’s agricultural industry has been struggling with drought conditions for several years, with some areas of the state suffering from below average moisture the past six to eight years. Ranchers in sections of the state are feeding their cattle hay or selling them because there is little grass available for grazing, and crops are withering quickly," said Jeff Tranel, an agricultural business management economist with Colorado State Cooperative Extension. "The long-term impact of the drought on the industry and resources such as grazing land are extremely significant at this point. Farmers and ranchers can improve their situation with strategic management decisions."
Resources available include information to help farmers and ranchers make management decisions based on climate conditions as well as up-to-date information about municipal watering restrictions and ideas to preserve water in households and on landscapes. Localized information and resources are available through Cooperative Extension county and regional offices, usually listed under the county government section of the phone book or available online at www.ext.colostate.edu