April 28, 2011

Waiting Out the Drought in Baca County, Colorado

The Pueblo Chieftain reports on the mood in Baca County, the southeast corner of Colorado, where it touches Kansas and Oklahoma.

The winter wheat needs rain, and farmers are waiting for moisture before planting corn, milo, and sunflowers.
The cattle herds—culled already during the 2002 drought and the blizzards of 2006-07—are threatened, with some ranchers already talking about reduction. There are more than 50,000 head in the county.

One of the consequences of drought could be to close federal grazing leases on the Comanche grasslands, which will be evaluated according to the conditions on a case-by-case basis. The county commissioners are studying whether to ask for disaster relief, which could open Conservation Reserve Program ground to grazing.

“It’s dry. People haven’s sold off cattle, but it’s coming,” said Carlos Crane, a Campo-area rancher.
It's the heart of the 1930s Dust Bowl, but we have learned some lessons since then.

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