Halito (Hello) from Dr. Evan Whitley the Director of Agriculture!
As I look out my office window, it’s becoming quite apparent spring is now upon us. I go back and forth on whether early spring or early fall is my favorite time of year. Witnessing “green-up” from dormancy, newborn calves and strutting tom turkeys has a way most days of putting one in a good mood. Although there is definitely something to be said about sitting in a deer stand and watching the sun come up on a cool Saturday morning, then settling into your couch to watch a good college football game. Perhaps the answer is: rather than selecting favorite seasons, we should try to enjoy all of them.
The eastern half of Oklahoma has been blessed with sufficient rainfall to fill ponds and promote early-season forage growth. Depending on where you are, your area may not be considered in a drought, but you could be mere minutes from those still in moderate or severe drought zones. Much of western Oklahoma and the panhandle are in Extreme or Exceptional drought. Currently (as of 4-4-23), the U.S. Drought Monitor has the state of Oklahoma split almost down the middle on a southwest-to-northeast line between Very Favorable and Very Unfavorable moisture conditions, with little buffer – less than a county, in some instances – between the two extremes.
It’s often said farmers and ranchers have short memories, and for good reason, considering the ever-changing environments in which we operate. However, I would caution those here in eastern Oklahoma to be mindful of two things.
- Remember 2022, which started off quite similarly to this year, then evolved into one of the worst droughts in Oklahoma’s history.
- Pray for those still witnessing drought. Not just in Oklahoma, but across the food- and fiber-producing southern and central plains.