<< All News Thursday, July 20, 2017 - 05:00 pm

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum voted with the State Water Commission today to release an additional $500,000 for the Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Program to assist ranchers dealing with harsh drought conditions.

“The conditions in these drought-affected counties are not just severe, they are extreme or exceptional,” Burgum, who chairs the commission, said during the special meeting, stressing the importance of getting food and water to livestock. “This is one piece in a larger puzzle that we can take action on today to see if we can provide some relief.” 

The commission re-activated the livestock water supply program on June 22, approving initial funding of $250,000. State Engineer Garland Erbele later authorized an additional $75,000. All of those dollars have been awarded, and the commission already has $223,000 in cost-share requests approved pending additional funding, Erbele said.

Approved by a unanimous 5-0 vote, the $500,000 will cover the approved pending requests and leave about $277,000 for additional requests, which should last until needs can be reassessed at the commission’s next regular meeting on Aug. 23, Erbele said.

“These resources will be put to good use in helping them manage, mitigate and minimize a great deal of hardship and problems out there,” said state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, who serves on the commission.

Created in 1991 and last activated in 2006, the program provides eligible livestock producers with 50 percent cost-share assistance of up to $3,500 per project, with a maximum of three projects per applicant. Details, including how to apply, are available on the commission’s website at www.swc.nd.gov .

Burgum also applauded U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue’s decision today to authorize the use of additional Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands – specifically CRP wetland and buffer practices – for emergency grazing and haying in drought-affected areas of North Dakota, Montana and South Dakota. Interested landowners should contact their local Farm Service Agency office and meet with local Natural Resources Conservation Service staff.

“We deeply appreciate Secretary Perdue’s timely responses in addressing the tremendous challenges facing our farmers and ranchers as they struggle to weather this crisis,” Burgum said.

The U.S. Drought Monitor released today rated 6 percent of North Dakota in exceptional drought (D4), the first time since 2006 the state has received a D4 drought rating. Approximately 34 percent of the state is listed in extreme drought (D3), 17 percent in severe drought (D2) and 17 percent in moderate drought (D1).

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