BISMARCK, N.D. – The State Water Commission has approved an additional $500,000 for its Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Program to help ranchers impacted by drought conditions, Gov. Doug Burgum announced today.
The nine-member commission, which is chaired by Burgum and includes Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring, approved the additional funding during its meeting Wednesday, bringing to $1.325 million the total made available through the program since it was re-activated June 22 for the first time since 2006.
The $825,000 that was previously approved has already been committed to qualifying projects submitted by eligible producers. Of the $500,000 released Wednesday, the commission has conditionally approved 97 cost-share requests totaling $282,000, which will leave $218,000 for additional requests.
“While recent widespread rainfall has provided some relief, it came too late for many farmers and ranchers this season,” Burgum said. “This additional funding will help producers build the resilient water infrastructure they need to maintain their livestock herds in the long term, supporting a critical component of North Dakota agriculture – the backbone of our communities and economy.”
Today’s U.S. Drought Monitor report shows substantial improvement from the previous week, with the percentage of North Dakota in exceptional drought dropping from 5 percent to less than 1 percent and the extreme drought area shrinking from 39 percent to 22 percent. Still, nearly 63 percent of the state remains in some stage of drought, with the remainder rated as abnormally dry except for a sliver in the southeast corner.
“The drought has caused water supply issues for many livestock producers in the hardest hit counties,” Goehring said. “The additional funding that has been approved will assist those producers in getting water to their livestock.”
The water supply 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. Eligible projects include new water wells, rural water system connections, pipeline extensions, pasture taps and associated works, labor, materials and equipment rentals to develop new water supply projects. Details are available on the commission’s website at www.swc.nd.gov.
Earlier this week, the state Emergency Commission approved $1.5 million for an Emergency Hay Transportation Program that will reimburse a portion of hay hauling expenses to eligible drought-impacted livestock producers. The grant program begins Sept. 5. Producers interested in applying should go to the Department of Agriculture’s website at www.nd.gov/ndda at that time. Questions about filling out the application may be directed to 701-328-2231.
As drought conditions continue to put stress on farmers and ranchers, a video has been posted to ndresponse.gov titled “Drought & Stress: Staying Resilient.” The video features tips on signs of stress and coping mechanisms shared by Dr. Andrew McLean, chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and medical director for the state Department of Human Services.
The video can be viewed at ndresponse.gov/drought/drought-information. The website also has numerous links to drought resources and relief programs, as well as information about wildfires and burn bans.