National drought workshop will take place in Raleigh April 1

by | Mar 22, 2010

North Carolina’s response to the record-breaking drought of 2007-08 — and the tools cities, towns and farmers can use to respond to future droughts — will be the focus of a national workshop Thursday, April 1, in Raleigh.

The 2010 North Carolina Drought Management Tools Workshop will take place from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education, 1101 Gorman St. The event is geared toward national, state and local leaders, public water supply officials and the agricultural community. It is free and open to the public.

Space is limited, so people should register soon at You must register online by 5 p.m. Friday, March 26.

The event will begin with the annual meeting of the North Carolina Drought Management Advisory Council, experts who assess the state’s climate conditions and help determine its drought outlook. Some part of North Carolina experienced drought or abnormally dry conditions for nearly three years until heavy rainfall brought back normal conditions in December. Steady rainfall has helped keep conditions normal in the state since then.

Speakers at the workshop will include officials from the state and federal departments of agriculture, the National Drought Mitigation Center and the State Climate Office of North Carolina. Topics will include climate change and drought, how farmers can use Web-based historical data on rainfall and climate to plan for drought and how officials at the National Drought Mitigation Center make decisions about drought.

The drought of 2007-08 was the worst in North Carolina since record keeping on the topic began in 1895. It took a heavy toll on farmers, causing an estimated $382 million in crop losses in 2007 alone. Much of the afternoon session of the workshop will be devoted to a discussion of the data and satellite mapping tools that allow farmers to monitor drought stress so they can make prudent decisions about crops and livestock. For a description of the tools farmers and others can use to prepare for drought, check out the Web link:

Workshop hosts are the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency, the National Drought Mitigation Center, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Computer Science and Engineering Department, the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the State Climate Office of North Carolina, N.C. State University and the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.