Visit our Colorado State Extension office for more news, tools and resources.

Close Icon
Up-to-date drought-related resources from CSU Extension & our partnering agencies.

Plan   arrow

A Plan in its most basic form, consists of 2 parts, “if, then.” If certain conditions arise (triggers), then you will take certain action (strategies). 

Why Plan? Hoping for rain is not a drought strategy. We don’t control droughts, but planning can help you prioritize what you care most about, build long and short-term strategies, and set key dates to reduce uncertainty in decisions with regard to drought. 

A plan also can help you define key indicators to watch that are important to you (ecologic, economic, and health). Some drought mitigation strategies take years to build (i.e., new infrastructure, new land acquisition, riparian corridor development, revamping a business model, herd development, etc.), and it’s easy to put them on the back burner when conditions improve. 

Having a plan can help you take action for things that take years of effort, and that might not bear fruit until the next drought. But, thinking through a drought plan can help you act according to what’s most important when that next drought comes, improve long-term viability, and reduce the stress of decision-making in the moment.

A drought plan consists of 1) defining goals for your ranch operation, 2) defining “trigger points” for decisions (or what information will prompt an action within your drought plan, 3) what strategies you can use to reduce the economic, ecological and social impacts of drought, 4) and deliberately learn about how well the plan worked. Contact us at to get started.

Elements of a Drought Plan [link to presentation]

Living Dry: Lessons Learned; (39 minutes) John Welch, owner of Welch Cattle Company and former CEO of Spade Ranches discusses the necessity for having a written drought plan and alternative steps to take when faced with drought.

Drought Planning

Goals and Scenarios


Strategies and Evaluation

Sample Plan