“We want to be proactive,” said Mark Walker, dean of UNCE. “We know that our offices in every county are going to be getting questions – everything from how to maintain lawns, to how to irrigate crops most efficiently during the drought. So, we have compiled information and links for various groups, and tried to make it easy for them to find.”

UNCE chose to take the lead in helping Nevadans cope with the drought because many of its six educational program areas, including agriculture, horticulture, natural resources and community development will be directly affected by the drought.

“We saw there was information and websites that contain information about the current drought conditions, and much information about how to respond to drought conditions. But the information is spread among a wide range of sources, which makes it difficult for Nevadans to know how to answer very specific questions,” Walker said.

“We have a lot of that expertise in Extension. And what we don’t have, many of our colleagues on campus and our other partners have. It was logical for us to develop a website that makes a wide range of resources available in one spot.”

Walker chose the “Living With Drought” model partly because UNCE’s “Living With Fire” program has been so effective. That program provides education to help Nevadans live more safely with the threat of wildfire. About 20 other states now also use the successful Nevada program.

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“Wildfires and drought are both facts of life in Nevada. It’s not a question of if they will occur; it’s a question of when they will occur,” Walker said. “These programs are aimed at minimizing their detrimental effects and the danger they can pose.”

As part of the Living With Drought effort, Cooperative Extension is also offering workshops across the state next month to give Nevada agricultural producers information to help them prepare for the drought. Topics will include water availability, recommended irrigation practices, insurance options and an outlook on prices. Workshops will be on April 1 in Eureka, April 14 in Schurz and Yerington, and April 29 in Minden.

In addition, UNCE will offer workshops for Nevada ranchers, including topics such as insurance options, how best to downsize herds, infrastructure recommendations, animal nutrition recommendations, availability of water for animals, and how drought affects plants and grazing options. These workshops will begin in May, with details being posted on the Living With Drought website.

Farmers and ranchers seeking more information on drought-related workshops can also call Cooperative Extension at (775) 945-3444, ext. 12.  end mark

—From University of Nevada Cooperative Extension news release

PHOTO

Alfalfa blooms in a field in Nevada, a sight that is in jeopardy because of looming drought conditions. One-hundred percent of cropland in Nevada is irrigated, and more than 90 percent of it is used to produce hay, making the drought a real challenge for the state’s farmers. Photo courtesy of UNCE.