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Friday, July 25, 2014

The social impact of the drought

Monday, August 6, 2012

The 4-H youth, parents and adult volunteers deserve considerable credit for providing excellent animal welfare during last week's Putnam County Fair, when two days the mercury topped 100 degrees.

All in all, the livestock had less stress at the fair than if at home, as most were checked every 15 minutes or so while being pampered with fans, drip hoses cooling the roof, etc. Kudos to all for showing excellent animal care skills!

Speaking of hot and dry, short of a hurricane or tropical depression spinning up, it looks as if Putnam County is in store for more warm and dry weather. Often individuals discuss the impact of drought on crops and livestock while the human side receives very little discussion.

Sure, drink extra water, stay cool, get out of the sun are mentioned, but what about the concern a youngster might have when overhearing mom or dad talk about financial loss? What about a spouse feeling stress from financial loss or the need to make tough, long term or even life changing decisions?

This drought will have a ripple effect as it impacts more than farmers and agricultural producers.

Putnam County during the last five years has seen agricultural products account for cash receipts of between $74 and $84 million for the entire county. Crop insurance will pick up part of the slack for many crop producers while livestock producers will bear the pain over the long haul due to feed costs, increased culling or the need to sell to cut losses. Such decisions cause drastic changes in family life.

A very defining social side to the drought truly exists where one must work to maintain or build physical and psychological health. While it may seem difficult, make it a priority to keep family and friends involved rather than neglecting these individuals who are most important to one's well being.

Work particularly with your spouse to be a team and keep your children informed as to why life changing events are occurring while providing comfort if needed. Set goals for five, 10 or more years as a family.

Avoid the blame game and judgmental stereotyping. Instead recognize the value and need for each family member to work together to pull through the tough times.

The University of Nebraska has an excellent publication titled "Weathering Tough Times -- Drought and Heat" that is a great reference for helping families cope with the social aspects of drought. It is linked in the drought webpage for Putnam County, which one can access via the "Hot Topics" on the right side of our Purdue Extension Putnam County home page.

There are several drought resource meetings coming up as well as other helpful events located in our "Hot Topics" area of the website.

Visit our homepage at www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam or you can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 653-8411 for more information regarding this week's column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events.

It is always best to call first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. All times listed are Eastern Time.

Upcoming events

Aug. 6: National Night Out, Robe Ann Park, 5 p.m.

Aug. 9: Area V Drought Resource Meeting, Vigo County Fairgrounds, 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Aug. 13: Extension Homemaker Leader Lesson "Eating for Your Health," Extension Office, 7 p.m.

Aug. 15: Drought Resource Meeting, Hendricks Co. Fairgrounds, 10 a.m.--1 p.m.

Aug. 15: Nitrate Testing Putnam County Fairgrounds Goat Barn 6-8 p.m.

Aug. 16: Organic Variety Selection and Seed Saving Workshop, Purdue University

Aug. 21: Cover Crop & No-till Breakfast PARP, Parke Fairgrounds, 7:30 a.m. (RSVP by Aug. 14)

Aug. 22: Master Gardener Classes Begin, Extension office, 6 p.m.

Aug. 24: My Record of Achievement 4-H Form Due, Extension Office

Aug. 24: Extension Homemakers Terre Haute District Fall Meeting in Clay County