Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research, 18, (Spring 2008):93-102. © 2008 Copyright by the Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska-Lincoln


The lion's share of financial losses caused by drought is shouldered by crop and livestock producers. Producers' perceptions of and responses to drought were studied in the mid-1960s, the mid-1980s, and again in this study. Direct and indirect impacts are experienced by nonfarm businesses, communities, and individuals as well; some of those impacts have not been well researched and were integral to this project. Interviews with crop producers, livestock producers, and community members were conducted in Frontier County, NE, in late summer 2006. Producers are very perceptive of the drought hazard, a result found in the two previous studies. Adoption of drought mitigation practices has increased over the past 40 years. Producers are concerned about the myriad of factors they must consider when planning their farm or ranch operations, particularly as they are trying to adjust to water restrictions imposed as an outcome ofthe Kansas-Nebraska lawsuit regarding Republican River flow, but overall they are basically optimistic. Community members were very concerned about the future of farming and the quality of rural life. They expressed fears that changes in farming practices may lower the value of land, affect the tax base, and ultimately impact the school system and other county services.