by Jody G. Holthaus
Meadowlark Extension Agent
Livestock & Natural Resources

When you think back about your childhood and think about your role models, picking out the most influential teacher is easy. Looking into your family clan and picking your role model takes a few more years of reflection.

drought cracked earthMy mother was a great role model for everything domestic, but she never worked off the farm until I was a senior in high school.

My Aunt Betty on the other hand, had gone to college and was a teacher by trade. I’m not sure if she ever really taught in a classroom, but she was an administrative assistant to a very important man in our town. I remember her always having her hair done, and dressing up for the job. Now that she’s retired, she does volunteer work and shows up at extension meetings to educate herself.

Last week, I ran into her at the Society of Range Management meeting. She was interested in the drought mitigation talk. She’s a role model for me and others, in that you’re never too old to learn something new. I’m really blessed to still have Aunt Betty in my life.

Hearing about this drought that we are in and 80 percent of Kansas is in one stage of drought or another, was quite frightening. Mary Knapp, KSU climatologist, estimates that it will take 3 inches to get the Meadowlark District back to normal.

What’s not helping, is that October was 1 to 3 degrees warmer than normal, which causes higher than normal evaporation. The La Nina is resurging and the big high over Texas is blocking our chances of getting moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

La Nino and El Nina causes a shift in the trade winds, that shift where the oceans are the warmest or something like that. We do not know what causes the La Nina or El Nina, but we do recognize the patterns that result.

Our best hope for moisture is from the Pineapple Express, that would be a storm forming over Hawaii, that moves into southern California and into the plains. Or, a storm that would form over the four corners and moves east. Even scarier, was the data that showed how long droughts can last. Droughts in Nebraska, have lasted anywhere from 5 to 38 years.

And we’re whining because we haven’t had a good rain for a couple of months! Suffice it to say, I came back from this meeting and told my husband to not sell any hay, just yet!

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Posted by on Nov 10 2011. Filed under Columns, Fenceline. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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