North Dakota Gov. John Hoeven has asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns to issue a Secretarial Disaster Declaration for 37 North Dakota counties in response to record rainfall this spring in the north central, northeast Red River Valley and southeast portions of the state, and drought conditions in other areas that have negatively impacted crops and pasture land.
“We are asking Secretary Johanns to recognize the significant effects these continuous years of flood, drought and severe weather have had on the lives of people that support our state’s leading industry,” Hoeven said. “We are working to do all we can to help farmers, ranchers and those who depend on agriculture for a living, to recover from the financial impacts resulting from these conditions.”
The Governor’s request follows the completion of Damage Assessment Reports (DARs) by the Farm Service Agency (FSA) for all North Dakota counties experiencing poor crop conditions and crop loss.
Based on information provided in the DARs, the North Dakota U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Emergency Board recommended the Governor request a Secretarial Disaster Declaration for 37 North Dakota counties: Adams, Benson, Bottineau, Bowman, Burke, Cavalier, Dickey, Divide, Emmons, Grand Forks, Grant, Griggs, Hettinger, Kidder, LaMoure, McHenry, McIntosh, McLean, Mercer, Mountrail, Nelson, Oliver, Pembina, Pierce, Ramsey, Ransom, Renville, Richland, Rolette, Sargent, Sheridan, Slope, Steele, Towner, Traill, Walsh and Ward.
The DARs indicate these counties meet criteria for either a 30 percent or greater crop loss countywide or having one or more individual producers who had a 30 percent or greater crop loss and are unable to obtain credit from sources other than FSA.
With the disaster declaration, producers in 16 additional counties would qualify for emergency loan assistance according to the contiguous county rule. These counties include: Barnes, Billings, Burleigh, Cass, Dunn, Eddy, Foster, Golden Valley, Logan, McKenzie, Morton, Sioux, Stark, Stutsman, Wells and Williams.
“Flooding in much of the state and drought conditions in other areas, combined with the effects of severe weather, prevented planting on more than a million acres, as well as resulted in damages to crops, impacting both yield and quality,” Hoeven said. “This declaration would help provide additional resources for our farmers and ranchers, and agriculture-related businesses that have been impacted by these persistent conditions.”
If Johanns approves the disaster declaration, assistance in the form of emergency loan and debt restructuring programs through USDA or the Small Business Administration programs, can be made available to eligible producers and agricultural-related businesses in the designated counties.
On June 9, Hoeven issued a flood emergency declaration for the state, which was upgraded to a disaster declaration on July 1. He requested that President Bush issue a Presidential Disaster Declaration, which was approved on July 22 for 20 counties and two Indian Reservations. On Aug. 3, that declaration was expanded to include six additional counties and one Indian Reservation.
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