NDSU Extension providing help to farmers, ranchers during drought conditions

Local News

With drought concerns still rising all across the state, talks of some solutions and resources are in the works to help cattle producers weather the storm.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, over the last month, Ward County has been classified as a D4 drought condition.

This is considered the worst condition to be in.

“Normally these droughts will affect parts of the state, half of the state, but this is the one where the whole state is affected by this drought,” Extension Rangeland Management Specialist, Kevin Sedivec said.

Sedivec says the state hasn’t seen a drought this severe, on record, since the drought monitor came out in the late 90s.

“People will compare it to the 1988-89 drought and this one is actually worse because we came into it with no moisture from last year,” he said.

He says cattle producers have been hit the hardest by the current drought conditions, limiting them to a scarce amount of feed for their cattle.

“I’ve talked to producers throughout the state and most producers are saying they’re going to get about a third to a half of hay at the best and, you know, emotionally it’s just tough,” Sedivec said.

Weighing in on those emotions, NDSU Extension in Ward County held a public meeting Wednesday morning for farmers, ranchers and cattle producers to attend.

A few professionals shared several tips and even programs that might help those struggling.

Some that were mentioned include the Livestock Forage Program for grazing loss, the Emergency Conservation Program for cost shares and the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program for water hauling assistance.

“It’s just a tough scenario this year, we’re just so short of moisture the risks are so high for failure, so what producers are going to do are very limited,” Sedivec said.

While it is limited, those closely affected are appreciative for anything.

“Obviously lack of moisture, rain, is out of our control but there is some things that we can all do and that we can control and it’s encouraging to see the number of producers here in this room learning and trying to learn and find opportunities to deal with this drought,” said Precision Agriculture and Conservation Specialist, Joey Rasco.

“They’re just looking at ways to survive and still make a living in the cattle industry and they’re doing whatever they can,” Sedivec said.

Sediveck says recent rainfall in Ward County has helped ease the tension a little, but it’s still not enough to be the saving grace for so many still struggling.

For more information on other useful programs and tools you can use to combat this drought, click here.

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