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Ranchers Questioning Accuracy Of U.S. Drought Monitor


The Drought Monitor analyzes data from the rainfall to streams and ponds that have gone dry.

Amador County cattle rancher Duane Martin says the drought has hit him and California especially hard.

"Water for cattle has really gotten tough, I've had some awful good ponds that never filled up, this is the third year and they're really low or empty," says Martin. 

Some ranchers feel the Drought Monitor is slow in reporting actual conditions on the ground and the droughts severity.

The California Cattlemen's Association is encouraging ranchers to contribute to the weekly monitor report so it can be more accurate.

Association Vice President Justin Oldfield says the monitor determines how much federal aid money ranchers can receive for grazing losses.

"Buying hay, buying other sorts of feed is going to put them out an extreme amount of money where otherwise in a normal year where they wouldn't be in a drought, they wouldn't have to do that," says Oldfield.

Oldfield says those disaster relief payments can mean the difference between keeping the herd or even saving the ranch.

1118 Drought Monitor

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