We’ve had a busy spring down here at the ranch. Not only are we continuing to have regular lessons in a more “normal” capacity, but we’re getting those lovely warm days. Honestly, it’s pretty hard to believe that we’re only a little over a week away from our next break, well deserved by all.
Not only has spring brought us some great lessons, a competitive second annual Swiftsure Derby, and planning of the 30th annual Cowboy Ball – in person nonetheless. But, unfortunately, spring has also brought the Wood River Valley a significant drought. While it seems that we go through drought cycles here in Idaho, this one presents challenges for the ranch.
In a “normal” year at the ranch, our ranch hands are busy making sure our waterlines are in place, our fields are being watered regularly, and the crop is growing. Typically we’re pretty self-reliant. We grow our hay for the herd and produce enough over the summer to usually last us through the winter. But not this year; this year’s drought is throwing us a curveball. We’re not able to water at all this summer because of the extreme drought condition that are present.
When we were chatting with Paul, our executive director, on the impacts the drought is taking on the ranch, it’s significant. Paul noted that there isn’t anything that we can do about the watering situation this year. Still, we’re taking advantage of this time to improve our water lines for efficiency, moisture meters to make sure we’re watering to JUST the right amount, and not using more than necessary. In field 1 we’re also changing out our watering guns to wheel lines. This improvement is focused on distributing water more efficiently and still growing our crop in the coming years.
As Paul said, there isn’t much we can do about the drought this year other than preparing ourselves for the future. This year we’re simply grateful for friends and connections that are helping us secure 40 tons of hay to get us through the winter months. We need to extend a big thank you to the Boswell Foundation and the Nancy Eccles & Homer Hayward Foundation for helping make this possible.
Let us also state – we’re not the only ranch in the south valley faced with challenges this year. All ranches and properties in the Wood River Valley and Silver Creek drainage are seeing low water and are also forced to reduce or eliminate their summer water consumption.
Finally, keep an eye out on our social media pages, website, and newsletters for summer event updates, camp options, and horsemanship clinics!
We hope to see you at the ranch soon.
– The entire Swiftsure Crew