Nevada Extension offers workshops on dealing with drought

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With the 2014 drought looming, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension is offering workshops across the state this month and next to give Nevada agricultural producers, particularly alfalfa and grass hay producers, information to help them prepare for the drought. Topics will include water availability, recommended irrigation practices, insurance options and an outlook on prices. The first workshop will be March 20.

“There are things producers can do in terms of irrigation methods and scheduling to maximize their crops under these conditions,” said Cooperative Extension’s Jay Davison, an alternative crops specialist who conducts research related to irrigation efficiency, as well as alternative crops that use less water.

Davison will discuss soil texture, water-holding capacity, irrigation scheduling, the relationship between evapotranspiration and crop yield, how to determine evapotranspiration in the field, plant response to drought, and irrigation strategies that result in maximum yields under conditions of limited irrigation water. 

In addition, Cooperative Extension’s Staci Emm, Mineral County Extension educator, will provide an overview of risk management crop insurance programs for agriculture producers. Agriculture Economist Mike Helmar, from the University’s Center for Economic Development at the College of Business, will provide an outlook on alfalfa and grass hay prices. Finally, local irrigation district officials and others will provide information on water availability, including irrigation updates.

The workshops will be held:

  • 6 p.m., March 20 in Fallon, at the Churchill County Cooperative Extension Office, 111 Sheckler Road; and in Caliente, via videoconference at the Lincoln County Cooperative Extension Office, 360 Lincoln St. This session can be made available to other communities via videoconference. Call 775-945-3444, ext.12.
  • 1 p.m., April 1 in Eureka, in the Commissioners’ Chambers at the Eureka County Courthouse, 10 S. Main St.
  • 1 p.m., April 14 in Schurz, in the Walker River Paiute Tribe Learning Center, Hospital Road, off of Highway 95.
  • 6 p.m., April 14 in Yerington, at the Lyon County Cooperative Extension Office, 504 S. Main St.
  • 6 p.m., April 29 in Minden, at the CVIC Hall, 1604 Esmeralda Ave. Note: This session will discuss irrigation practices only, and is part of the Agriculture Innovation Series Forum, where small-acreage equipment and services will also be discussed.

Those attending are encouraged to preregister by calling 775-945-3444, ext. 12 or emailing to ensure ample space and educational materials are available. Persons in need of special accommodations or assistance should call at least three days prior to the scheduled workshop they will be attending.

The workshops are part of Cooperative Extension’s Herds and Harvest Program that helps farmers and ranchers develop agricultural entrepreneurship, implement sustainable agricultural marketing strategies and improve profitability. Since 2011, the program has reached several hundred farmers and ranchers across the state. Two-thirds of the participants reported they would make changes in their business practices because of what they learned through the program. The program is supported by the USDA’s Risk Management Agency and the USDA’s Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

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