The National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC) and the VegDRI project team travelled to California February 24-26, 2009, for two RMA drought workshops.
The first listening session on February 24, 2009, took place in Coalinga at Harris Ranch. It focused on obtaining direct feedback for the Vegetation Drought Response Index (VegDRI) project and also introduced the experimental Vegetation Drought Response Outlook (VegOut) project. The 21 participants at this listening session included producers, ranchers, agri-business, the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS), the California Polytechnic State University, the University of California-Davis extension, and also the region’s Risk Management Agency Office. Public participation methods included the use of a “sticky wall” with pre-developed questions, which aided in generating discussion and feedback from the group.
The February 26 workshop was in Woodland, California at the Heidrick Ag History Center. It focused on several drought management tools including VegDRI and VegOut. This group of 75 participants included producers, ranchers, media personnel, agencies such as the National Weather Service and NOAA, private biosciences businesses, the Yolo County FSA, University of California-Davis Extension, Recreation and Tourism, USDA-NRCS, and the USDA-RMA office within the area. Local presentations included an overview of the historical climate conditions from the California State Climatologist, a summary of recent drought and climate conditions by the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Sacramento and also a presentation by the USDA-FSA office on the California Drought Declaration Process. The NDMC included discussion sessions related to the specific drought informational tools.
Dr. Brian Wardlow, NDMC, and Bob Smith, RMA, at the Harris Ranch VegDRI listening session.
Karin Callahan, VegDRI project team member, helped facilitate a VegDRI listening session at Harris Ranch in Coalinga, California.