In surveying ranchers during California’s last drought, UC Cooperative Extension researchers found they adopted a more proactive planning approach to drought as a permanent practice.

Ranchers believed drought would be more influential in their future management planning and that their current strategies would be adequate, according to the study. Ranchers also felt the 2012-16 drought was so severe that it would be difficult to imagine a drought that was much worse, noted co-author Leslie Roche, a UC Davis associate professor of rangeland management.

Roche added that ranchers “viewed climate change as an important factor in their planning and largely agreed the future climate will differ from their past experiences.”

The UCCE researchers are working on decision-support tools to help ranchers with proactive strategies.