Increased preparation for drought among livestock producers reliant on rain-fed forage

Mitchel P. McClaran, Greg J. Butler, Haiyan Wei, George D. Ruyle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Increased preparation for drought among livestock producers reliant on rain-fed forage should reduce the economic losses and environmental degradation when the eventual drought occurs. We surveyed livestock ranchers in southeastern Arizona, USA, to determine their level of increased preparation for drought following 10 very dry years, as well as their level of threat from drought, importance of coping strategies, ranching experience, herd size, and satisfaction with drought management information. We used the protection motivation theory (PMT) model to structure our analysis because it provides a cognitive process approach to understand what motivates people to increase preparation for looming problems and how the likelihood of that behavior is a function of threat and coping strategy assessments. Thirty-seven percent of ranchers reported a high increase in preparedness, and another 31 % reported some increased preparation. Increased preparation was positively associated with three coping practices: reserve pastures, rotate grazing, and drought planning. However, increased preparation was negatively associated with drought threat severity, suggesting that the more prepared ranchers have implemented coping strategies that buffer them from the looming threat of drought. We found no relationship between increased preparation and levels of ranching experience, herd size, or satisfaction with drought information. Structure and content of education and assistance programs for improving rancher preparation for drought should benefit from the PMT-based analysis because it identifies drivers leading to increased preparedness and how those drivers differ among members of the ranching community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)151-170
Number of pages20
JournalNatural Hazards
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 14 2015


  • Drought planning
  • Protection motivation theory
  • Stepwise logistic regression

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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