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North Dakota Dept of Ag Launches Drought Hotline

Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has announced a new hotline available for ranchers affected by the drought.

“Ranchers who need hay, or those with hay to sell or with pasture or hayland to rent should call us at 701-425-8454,” Goehring said. “We are also appealing to individuals who are available to move hay to contact the hotline.”

Individuals who contact the hotline will provide their name, contact information and what they need or can provide. They will then be entered into the Drought Hotline database to be matched up with other individuals.  Goehring said North Dakota Department of Agriculture employees will answer calls to the hotline weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Callers can also leave a message on evenings and weekends. The service is free of charge.

Lack of measurable rain combined with higher temperatures and wind have caused drought conditions across the state in varying degrees. Based on the latest crop progress report put out by the United States Department of Agriculture for the week ending June 4, North Dakota’s topsoil moisture supplies were rated at 54 percent short to very short. Pasture and range conditions were rated 70 percent fair to very poor, which could cut forage production dramatically for livestock producers even if rains were to come in late June.  An update of the US Drought Monitor released June 9th shows 13% of North Dakota and 11% of South Dakota are now classified as Severe Drought.

“We are requesting that the Farm Service Agency (FSA) allow emergency haying and grazing of CRP land,” Goehring said. “Once a disaster declaration is attained, farmers and ranchers should check with their local FSA office to see if they qualify for other drought relief programs that may be available to help.”

Goehring will be traveling to drought-stricken areas next week.