The University of Arizona

CLIMAS Ranching Case Study: Year 1 | CLIMAS

CLIMAS Ranching Case Study: Year 1

TitleCLIMAS Ranching Case Study: Year 1
Publication TypeReport
Year of Publication1999
AuthorsConley, J, Eakin, H, Sheridan, T, Hadley, D
Series TitleCLIMAS Report Series
Document NumberCL3-99
InstitutionClimate Assessment for the Southwest, University of Arizona
CityTucson, AZ

The project discussed in this paper has three broad purposes: first, to compile a profile of Arizona’s ranchers, with an emphasis on socioeconomic characteristics of ranchers in southeastern portion of the state; second, to identify and understand the physical, social, and political-economic factors that make the livelihoods of ranchers vulnerable to climatic variability; and third, to determine whether or not ranchers can mitigate their vulnerability with improved access to information on climate. This pilot study outlines the assumptions, methodology and some preliminary assessments from work in its initial stages. This pilot study shows that the sensitivity of ranching to climate variability is one of many factors, which include adverse market conditions, land use policies, political pressures, and individual management strategies and resource access. The study identifies smaller operations as the most vulnerable to climatic variability in the context of policy and economic serve. These ranchers do not have the capital to undertake large investments and make changes in operations based on long-term forecasts with an unknown track record. In order for climate information to be of use to ranchers in southeastern Arizona, information must be provided within the decision-structure used by ranchers. Incorporating climate information into the most important sources of decision-making information that ranchers regularly rely on, (i.e. journals that contain ranching market data), could prove an effective way of improving base of information on which ranchers make decisions.