--WDA asking for assistance in monitoring rainfall; offering hay/pasture availability list on website

June 14, 2016--Weston, Crook, and Niobrara counties are currently facing severe drought conditions. The Wyoming Department of Agriculture has been collaborating with Governor Mead’s office, USDA Farm Service Agency, and County Commissioners to find ways to help more accurately portray drought severity within the U.S. Drought Monitor. The U.S. Drought Monitor is a model that uses many variables to indicate drought severity across the country and in turn, make available the United States Department of Agriculture – Farm Service Agency’s drought assistance programs based on severity. Current data used by the US Drought Monitor, however, may not be accurately capturing how dry it actually is in some rural areas of Wyoming.

There is a way for producers or other interested individuals to improve representativeness of data by contributing to that data. Visit http://www.cocorahs.org/application.aspx to receive information on how to participate in precipitation data acquisition efforts. You can receive a free rain gauge which is standardized for the program and which you can use to input daily rainfall totals via the website that will help the Drought Monitor more accurately portray current drought conditions. The more data points we have across Wyoming, the more accurate the U.S. Drought Monitor will be for the state. Currently, there are more than 15,000 individuals nationwide who contribute to this program.

Along with this, the Wyoming Department of Agriculture is keeping a list on their website of available pasture and hay for sale to producers in need. If you have pasture and hay available and are interested in participating in this list by providing contact information and type of pasture and/or hay available, please contact Derek Grant at the Wyoming Department of Agriculture at derek.grant@wyo.gov.