Alexander Cramer reports in the Park Record that Summit County, Utah, home of Park City, is experiencing its worst drought in history. He writes:
The ranchers said the drought poses an existential threat to the operations, especially if it persists into next year.
“This is serious,” Mike Brown said. “It’s not just that we don’t have green lawns anymore, it’s getting into the absolute food chain supply.”
Challenges to come
There aren’t many small ranching operations left in Summit County, Ure and others said, and this drought might just drive them out.
Young said it would likely change who’s in the ranching business, possibly opening the door to larger agriculture operations.
Ranchers could also opt to sell to housing developers.
“I think this drought is going to have a lasting impact on agriculture in the West,” Young said. “A devastating impact on families and farms.”
Farmland that may have been profitable might not be so now, and the real estate market is red hot. Ure said he’d heard of several recent transactions in the Kamas area in which land sold for “outrageous prices.”
Summit County Councilor Chris Robinson, who owns or co-owns hundreds of thousands of acres in Utah and elsewhere, including Ensign Ranches, said one silver lining of what he called the “megadrought” is that it’s putting the appropriate level of scrutiny on water use.
“The biggest carry-on effect for me is it’s been a catalyst for a terrific conversation about the need to really care for our water resources and to conserve them and not waste them,” Robinson said. “… Before, it was like the lone wolf crying in the wilderness. Now everyone’s talking about it.”
Ure predicted that over the course of the summer, governments would start announcing water-conservation regulations. Some options include reducing the amount of grass installed in new development and incentivizing a switch to drought-resistant landscaping.
Young, Ure and Mike and Glen Brown agreed that if the drought persisted into next year, it would compound the problem to perhaps unmanageable levels.
“No one really wants to talk about how bad it might be next year as far as irrigation for crops or cattle or even their lawns,” Ure said.
Still, the ranchers said, they’re not giving in yet.
“We’re survivors,” Mike Brown said. “We’ve been at this 80 years, but this one’s a little different.”
America’s food supply chain is fragile. Just imagine what life would be like during another pandemic if the grocery store employees decided not to go to work?
And it’s not just food. Summit County residents are facing a serious water shortage.
Action Line: What would you do in the face of a water shortage? Have you got any water stored up at home? How many days are you prepared for? If you don’t have good answers to these questions, it’s time you downloaded my special report, Emergency Water Storage: How Much, Containers, Purification & More.
E.J. Smith - Your Survival Guy
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