Thursday, Gov. Doug Burgum and Ag Commissioner Doug Goehring stood in front of several Pierce County farmers and ranchers as they voiced their concerns about our state’s current drought conditions and how it’s affecting them directly.

Goehring explained, “About 96% of the state has pretty significant drought and 92% is severe to– it’s at dangerous levels.”

At the Coffee Cottage Cafe in Rugby, dozens of farmers and ranchers joined together for a Q&A informative session with state leaders to share just how impactful the drought has been on their crops and livestock.

One rancher said, “The longer this drought goes on the worse that grass gets and these people need hay now.”

Another expressed their desperation for help: “I know you’re not the federal government, but you promised to be our advocates and I believe in you.”

“It’s our livestock producers that are impacted the greatest simply because they have to find feed and water just to manage their livestock herds,” Goehring said.

Goehring says there are some programs already in place to assist during these trying times.

“Emergency Conservation Program, the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program and God forbid the Livestock Indemnity Program, which is always available if you have some issues,” he said.

But to him, and so many others, that just isn’t enough help.

“One of the issues and concerns comes from how do you help them, assist them in finding forage, finding hay, finding pasture, helping them retain those herds to the degree they can, and also water is a critical aspect to that,” Goehring said.

The hope is to take all of these concerns and present them further on a state level — and even on the federal level — to get changes made so farmers and ranchers aren’t left without come this fall and for years to come.

This is a reality check for one rancher attending the meeting: “If we don’t do that our beef industry is going to just about die in the state.”

“People are hurting, you know, and there’s just so many things that really dictate and determine success and how well they can manage their adversity,” Goehring said.

Goehring says if you’re a farmer or rancher in need of assistance you can call the state Ag Department Office and they will help you.