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Dalrymple declares agricultural drought emergency

By Staff | Aug 20, 2012

Gov. Jack Dalrymple has signed an executive order declaring an agricultural emergency due to drought conditions. The governor’s declaration requires state agencies to prepare drought response support services.

The U.S. Drought Monitor Index shows that 87 percent of North Dakota is experiencing drought conditions and portions of 20 counties are classified as suffering from severe drought. Based on the index, the governor’s emergency declaration covers 50 counties, those experiencing drought and contiguous counties. The declaration also covers the five Indian reservations in North Dakota.

“Recent rains have provided some relief, but we still have many farmers and ranchers who will suffer significant losses this year,” Dalrymple said. “We are seeing significant crop losses, both in yield and quality. Drought conditions also have reduced hay and other livestock feed sources and will contribute to water supply shortages.”

Based on the U.S. Drought Monitor Index, the governor’s declaration applies to the state’s Indian reservations and the following counties: Adams, Barnes, Benson, Billings, Bottineau, Bowman, Burke, Burleigh, Cass, Cavalier, Dickey, Dunn, Eddy, Emmons, Foster, Golden Valley, Grand Forks, Grant, Griggs, Hettinger, Kidder, LaMoure, Logan, McHenry, McIntosh, McKenzie, McLean, Mercer, Morton, Mountrail, Nelson, Pembina, Pierce, Ramsey, Ransom, Renville, Richland, Rolette, Sargent, Sheridan, Sioux, Slope, Stark, Steele, Stutsman, Towner, Traill, Walsh, Ward and Wells.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring today said that land enrolled in the state’s Waterbank Program will be made available to ranchers for haying or grazing. The state program provides funding for landowners who set aside agricultural land for wetlands preservation.

On July 27, Dalrymple activated the state’s Unified Drought Task Force, setting in motion four work groups that analyze drought conditions, assess drought impacts and develop mitigation measures. Dalrymple also requested that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) begin a statewide assessment of crop damages and production losses due to drought, hail, flooding and other weather-related losses. Dalrymple’s request for the USDA to prepare a damage assessment report is the first step in seeking a possible secretarial disaster declaration which would make supplemental disaster assistance and other USDA programs available to help farmers and ranchers manage production losses.

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