University of Nevada, Reno launches Living With Drought website and education

For immediate release: March 28, 2014

University of Nevada, Reno launches Living With Drought website and education

Cooperative Extension collaborates with partners to provide information for coping with looming drought

AlfalfaDrought032814 (1)RENO, Nev. – With the 2014 drought looming, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension has partnered with other agencies to help Nevadans prepare for and cope with the drought. Today, Cooperative Extension launched its Living With Drought website, a one-stop shop where homeowners, gardeners, farmers, ranchers, natural resource managers and others can find information to help them respond to their various drought-related challenges. The website is at http://www.unce.unr.edu/programs/sites/drought/.

“We want to be proactive,” Mark Walker, dean of University of Nevada Cooperative Extension, said. “We know that our offices in every county are going to be getting questions – everything from how to maintain lawns, to how to irrigate crops most efficiently during the drought. So, we have compiled information and links for various groups, and tried to make it easy for them to find.”

Cooperative Extension chose to take the lead in helping Nevadans cope with the drought because many of its six educational program areas, including agriculture, horticulture, natural resources and community development, will be directly affected by the drought.

“We saw there was information and websites that contain information about the current drought conditions, and much information about how to respond to drought conditions. But, the information is spread among a wide range of sources, which makes it difficult for Nevadans to know how to answer very specific questions,” Walker said. “We have a lot of that expertise in Extension. And, what we don’t have, many of our colleagues on campus and our other partners have. It was logical for us to develop a website that makes a wide range of resources available in one spot. It’s what Extension does; we respond to community needs.”

Walker chose the “Living With Drought” model partly because Cooperative Extension’s “Living With Fire” program has been so effective. That program provides education to help Nevadans live more safely with the threat of wildfire. About 20 other states now also use the successful Nevada program.

“Wildfires and drought are both facts of life in Nevada. It’s not a question of if they will occur; it’s a question of when they will occur,” Walker said. “These programs are aimed at minimizing their detrimental effects and the danger they can pose.”

As part of the Living With Drought effort, Cooperative Extension is also offering workshops across the state next month to give Nevada agricultural producers information to help them prepare for the drought. Topics will include water availability, recommended irrigation practices, insurance options and an outlook on prices. Workshops will be on April 1 in Eureka, April 14 in Schurz and Yerington, and April 29 in Minden.

In addition, Cooperative Extension will offer Living With Drought workshops for Nevada ranchers, including topics such as insurance options, how best to downsize herds, infrastructure recommendations, animal nutrition recommendations, availability of water for animals, and how drought affects plants and grazing options. These workshops will begin in May. As details become available, they will be posted on the Living With Drought website. Farmers and ranchers seeking more information on drought-related workshops can also call Cooperative Extension at 775-945-3444, ext. 12, for more information.

Walker said homeowners, gardeners, landscapers and others should also check the Living With Drought website regularly, as Cooperative Extension’s various horticulture programs, such as its Master Gardener Program and its Grow Your Own, Nevada! Program, will also be offering workshops and presentations with drought-specific information throughout the spring and summer. Or, contact your local University of Nevada Cooperative Extension office for more information.

# # #

Photo Cutline: Alfalfa in bloom. One hundred percent of cropland in Nevada is irrigated, and more than 90 percent of it is used to produce hay, making the drought a real challenge for Nevada farmers.

Video: Media may go to http://youtu.be/zISiE6t7bxA or www.unce.unr.edu/programs/sites/drought/crops/ for an interview in Fallon, Nev., with Jay Davison, University of Nevada Cooperative Extension alternative crops specialist, accompanied by John Getto of Desert Oasis Teff. Davison states, “In Nevada, we’re the epicenter of the drought. I mean, we’re as bad as it gets in this part of the world.” He discusses the effect the drought will have on teff growers and alfalfa growers in Nevada, when he expects the Lahontan Valley to be out of water for growers, and his research on some alternative lower-water-use crops for Nevada, such as other forages and hops.

University of Nevada Cooperative Extension is the College of the University of Nevada, Reno that is engaged in every Nevada county, presenting research-based knowledge to address critical community needs. It is a county-state-federal partnership providing practical education to people, businesses and communities. For more information on its programs, visit www.unce.unr.edu.

Founded in 1874 as Nevada’s land-grant university, the University of Nevada, Reno ranks in the top tier of best national universities. With nearly 19,000 students, the University is driven to contribute a culture of student success, world-improving research and outreach that enhances communities and business. Part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the University has the system’s largest research program and is home to the state’s medical school. With outreach and education programs in all Nevada counties and home to one of the largest study-abroad consortiums, the University extends across the state and around the world. For more information, visit www.unr.edu.

Contact: Claudene Wharton
Communications Specialist
University of Nevada Cooperative Extension
Dean and Director’s Office

University of Nevada, Reno / MS 404
Reno, Nevada 89557-0404
whartonc@unce.unr.edu
775-784-7072
www.unce.unr.edu