Development of simulation models and decision tools for drought adaptation
The adaptation decision analysis project seeks to analyze decision processes in climate-sensitive sectors and to build decision models that act as both research tools and decision aids. In this year, we put all of our focus on the western range livestock industry, aka ranching, the most extensive agricultural system in the American West. With assistance from the USDA Northern Plains Climate Hub, the WWA team finished building, and distributed two versions of the Drought Ranch Insurance Response (DRIR) model. Both include modules that calculate ranch outcomes with and without the USDA’s forage and range insurance, an index insurance product linked to NOAA’s gridded precipitation product. The spreadsheet version, which is easiest for producers to use, can be downloaded, along with instructions, from the WWA’s “Understanding and Monitoring Drought” webpages. An on-line version, written in the R coding language, was demonstrated on a NIDIS-sponsored webinar in May which also provided the URL for running it online. Next steps are to invite producers and others to test the drought response model via agricultural conferences and publications. The next research steps are to submit a paper describing the model for peer-reviewed publication and to set-up experimental trials to gather sufficient run samples to test hypotheses about the role of drought forecasts, insurance, and market conditions in rancher decision-making in the face of drought.