A program to help farmers and ranchers endure the drought is being heavily utilized across the state.
The North Dakota Water Commission’s emergency drought program — officially, the drought disaster livestock water supply project assistance program — was reactivated this year due to the statewide drought emergency.
Livestock producers just have to apply for the program, and it will cover half the cost of projects (capped at $4,500) to provide sustainable water to an area, like drilling a well or connecting to a rural water supply.
So far, applications for the program have been through the roof, far outpacing the program’s use when it was last activated four years ago.
“In 2017 we actually saw during that drought over 500 applications, but they came in over the course of about a year. This program has been open just over a month, so we’re almost to the equivalent of 2017 in a fraction of the time,” Water Resource Planner for the State Water Commission Jared Huibregtse said.
Huibregtse says the program will be open as long as the money is available. In 2017, that was about two years. To apply for the program or learn more about the water commission’s drought efforts, head to the State Water Commission’s website.