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Managing Drought Is the Topic of Upcoming Pasture, Hay and Forage Meetings

ORANGE CITY, Iowa – Continuing drought conditions across northwest Iowa have cattle producers wondering how to prepare for 2023. Pastures were overgrazed and the U.S. Drought Monitor has most of northwest Iowa rated as “severe” or “extreme drought.”   

Iowa State University Extension and Outreach beef specialist Beth Doran is planning a series of three meetings to help producers manage previous drought conditions and prepare for more drought.

"Our speakers will cover USDA financial assistance programs, a new insurance program, hay stand assessment and repair, and considerations for different forages," she said. "All meetings are offered at no charge, but please preregister with the ISU Extension and Outreach office in the hosting county."

·                  Dec. 6, 10 a.m.–noon, ISU Extension and Outreach Pocahontas County, 305 N. Main, Pocahontas. Register by calling 712-335-3103.

·                  Dec. 12, 1-3 p.m., St. John’s United Methodist Church, 212 S. 7th St., Mapleton. Register by calling 712-423-2175.

·                  Dec. 19, 1-3 p.m., Le Mars Convention Center – lower level, 251 12 St. SE, Le Mars. Register by calling 712-546-7835. 

A representative from Farm Credit Services of America will discuss pasture, range and forage insurance. This relatively new insurance program covers perennial forages and grazing land used to feed livestock that is based on a grid system and rainfall index.   

Farm Service Agency representatives will provide an explanation of three USDA financial assistance programs: Livestock Forage Disaster Program, Emergency Livestock Assistance Program, and Livestock Indemnity Program. 

Gentry Sorenson and Leah Ten Napel, field agronomists with ISU Extension and Outreach, will share how to assess pasture/hay stands and how they should be prepared for next year. In some cases, frost seeding may be adequate. More extreme losses may require interseeding or starting over with a new seeding.

Doran will present considerations for alternative and short-term forages. She will discuss annual cool-season and warm-season forages that may be used to reduce the grazing pressure on perennial pastures. 

For more information, contact Doran at 712-737-4230 or