Burgum meets with Cabinet officials on drought relief and other N.D. priorities

Thursday, September 7, 2017 - 4:00pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Gov. Doug Burgum met today with U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to advocate for drought relief and other North Dakota priorities, continuing to build on the collaborative relationship with Cabinet officials in the Trump administration.

Burgum thanked Perdue for recent actions taken by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help North Dakota farmers and ranchers hit hard by drought, including the release of Conservation Reserve Program acres for haying and grazing. Today’s U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly half of North Dakota is still experiencing severe, extreme or exceptional drought conditions.

The governor also sought support for his Aug. 7 request for a presidential major disaster declaration for drought, which could make direct disaster assistance available to affected farmers and ranchers. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is currently considering the request.

Other issues discussed with Perdue included the importance of a strong crop insurance program in the next federal farm bill and the need for more accurate data when reporting crop conditions.

In a separate meeting with Zinke, Burgum advocated for Interior Department’s Bureau of Reclamation approval of the Red River Valley Water Supply Project intake permit from Garrison Diversion’s McClusky Canal. They also discussed the department’s important land, water and minerals management role, especially as it pertains to collaboration on tribal lands.

“We’re grateful for this administration’s ongoing willingness to engage in meaningful dialogue on topics important to all North Dakotans, and we look forward to working together to find solutions to current and future challenges,” Burgum said. “With all of the natural disasters impacting U.S. cities, farms and forests, we know there’s huge demand for federal resources, and we deeply appreciate the assistance North Dakota has received as well as our congressional delegation’s ongoing work with FEMA and the agriculture secretary on the drought issue.”