N.D. Gov. Proclaims Statewide Agricultural Emergency

June 29, 2004

North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven has issued a statewide agricultural emergency declaration in response to drought conditions in the southwest and excessive precipitation in the northeast and north central, which have seriously affected the agricultural industry and its related service providers statewide.

Hoeven made the announcement following a ground and aerial tour he made of flooded acres in Renville, Bottineau and Ward counties this morning. The Governor was to tour counties in drought stricken southwestern North Dakota early this week.

“Repeated years of low soil moisture levels, combined with late season freezes, high winds, lack of rainfall in some parts of the state and an over-abundance of rainfall in other portions of the state, have taken a serious toll on our agricultural community,” Hoeven said. “Pasture and grazing shortages have forced producers into supplemental feeding plans and sell-down of livestock herds to enable limited operations during this period of extended drought in the southwest. Flooding, combined with hail and freezing temperatures, damaged emerging crops and pastureland and delayed planting operations in other portions of the state.”

“It is a strange year,” State Emergency Management Director Doug Friez said. “The southwest is fighting serious and lingering drought impacts while the north central part of the state, the northern Red River Valley and the Devils Lake Basin have experienced flooding. In both cases, flood and drought have caused serious negative impacts to our state’s agricultural industry.”

On March 29, Hoeven issued a flood emergency declaration for 10 North Dakota counties and the Spirit Lake Indian Reservation. The declaration was upgraded to a disaster declaration on April 20, when Hoeven requested President Bush issue a Major Presidential Disaster Declaration for North Dakota. Six northern counties were added to the original declaration on June 9. Counties include Benson, Bottineau, Burke, Cavalier, Grand Forks, Griggs, Mountrail, Nelson, Pembina, Ramsey, Renville, Steele, Towner, Traill, Walsh and Ward.

On June 4, Hoeven requested the State Farm Service Agency (FSA) conduct Damage Assessment Reports (DARs) for all North Dakota counties due to poor crop conditions and crop loss reports.

Staff from the Governor’s Office and the N.D. Division of Emergency Management (NDDEM) will review the reports, as well as weather data provided by state and local officials, to determine if U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) secretarial action should be pursued.

Recently, the State FSA Board requested that the USDA open Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land in nine southwestern North Dakota counties for haying and grazing. The request is based on a 40 percent departure from normal precipitation experienced in the counties over the last four months. Those counties include Adams, Billings, Bowman, Golden Valley, Grant, Hettinger, Sioux, Slope and Stark.

Additionally, officials for the Governor’s office and NDDEM have activated the State Emergency Operations Plan to provide additional assistance.

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