Severe drought has dried up rangeland and reservoirs alike all across California The hillsides above San Luis Reservoir should be green and lush by midJanuary rather than dusty and dry as would normally be seen in late summer

Severe drought has dried up rangeland and reservoirs alike all across California. The hillsides above San Luis Reservoir should be green and lush by mid-January rather than dusty and dry as would normally be seen in late summer.

Drought survival sessions scheduled in California

University of California Cooperative Extension will host series of sessions to help ranchers mitigate losses from California drought.    

Grave concern for California ranchers facing a prolonged dry spell this winter has prompted UC Cooperative Extension to organize meetings for ranchers in Mariposa, Mendocino, San Luis Obispo, Kern, Ventura and Tulare counties to connect remotely to a UC drought workshop in Browns Valley, Jan. 29.

“This workshop addresses an issue ranchers are dealing with right now,” said Fadzayi “Fadzie” Mashira [4], UCCE advisor and county director in Mariposa County. “The meeting will give ranchers tools they can use now and in the future to mitigate and prepare for droughts.”

The workshop, “Mitigating Drought: Optimizing Pasture and Supplemental Feed and Managing Risk,” takes place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center [5], 8279 Scott Forbes Rd., Browns Valley, Calif. Three UCCE advisors, two UCCE specialists, a veterinarian, a rancher, an insurance agent and a Cattlemen’s Association representative will discuss supplementing with alternative protein and roughage, managing animal health, making culling decisions and other topics that will help keep ranchers in business through what is shaping up to be the worst drought in California history. The complete agenda is posted online [6].

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“From previous droughts we’ve learned that feeding the whole herd through the drought may spell the end of business,” said Glenn Nader [8], UC Cooperative Extension advisor in Sutter-Yuba Counties. “We plan to provide information on management options and impacts of drought on dryland range and irrigated pasture, feeding options to consider during a drought and how to decide what cows to sell.”

Nader is organizing the workshop with Jeremy James [9], director of the UC Sierra Foothill Research and Extension Center. To register for the meeting in Browns Valley, complete this online form [10]. Registration is $10 and includes lunch.

Remote meeting locations are:

Mariposa County: During the Browns Valley field visit, participants in the Mariposa County meeting will share ideas about practices that have worked for some ranchers and discuss issues that may have come out during the webcast.

For more information on the Mariposa County location, contact: Fadzayi “Fadzie” Mashira, (209) 966-2417, [email protected] [11]

Mendocino County: The Mendocino meeting will be at the UC Hopland Research and Extension Center, 4070 University Road, Hopland, from 8:45 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

Local speakers at Hopland include John Harper, Katie Delbar and Karri Bartolomei, USDA Farm Service Agency, and Carre Brown, First District Supervisor for Mendocino County. A registration fee of $10 per person will cover handout materials.  Participants are invited to bring sack lunches and participate in discussion over the noon break.  Beverages will be provided.  To register, complete this online survey [12].

For more information, contact: John Harper, (707) 463-4495, [email protected] [13]

San Luis Obispo County: The meeting in San Luis Obispo County begins at 12:30 p.m. at the UCCE office, 2156 Sierra Way, San Luis Obispo. After the webcast concludes at about 3:30 p.m., Larsen and other experts will provide local information. The meeting is free and advance registration is not required.

For more information contact Royce Larsen, (805) 434-4106, [email protected] [14]

Kern County: The meeting will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the UC Cooperative Extension office, 1031 South Mount Vernon Ave., Bakersfield.  Cost is $10 and includes lunch. Register online at [15].

For more information contact: Julie Finzel, (661) 868-6219, [email protected] [16]

Ventura County: The meeting will be at the Farm Bureau office, 5156 McGrath St. in Ventura. Lunch is sponsored by the Ventura County Cattlemen’s Association. The session includes the 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. webcast from Browns Valley and, during the 40-minute field trip in Browns Valley, a beef quality assurance training video. There is no charge.

For more information contact: Fletcher Nelson, USDA-NRCS Range Management Specialist, (661) 945-2604, Ext. 111, [email protected] [17].

Tulare County: Tulare County ranchers may gather at the UC Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center, 18830 Road 112 in Tulare, to view the workshop webcast. The cost is $10 per person, payable at the door. Register online at [15].

For more information contact: Jim Sullins, (559) 684-3309, [email protected] [18]

Other counties: The forum webcast is available from any computer for those that cannot attend in person at Browns Valley or any of the remote locations. Register using the online form [10] to receive information on the webcast.