Gov. Jack Dalrymple today said that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has declared additional North Dakota counties an agricultural disaster due to drought conditions that have damaged crops. The expanded declaration makes farmers and ranchers in 33 counties eligible for supplemental disaster assistance and other federal programs. The USDA first declared an agricultural disaster in North Dakota on September 5.
"This expansion will make it possible for additional North Dakota counties to have access to disaster assistance and other federal programs to help producers as they deal with drought conditions across the state," Dalrymple said. "We will continue to monitor crop losses and other drought impacts so that our farmers and ranchers can get the assistance they need."
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack notified Dalrymple that the USDA has expanded the declaration to include seven primary counties and 15 contiguous counties. The primary counties include: Bowman, Dickey, Golden Valley, LaMoure, Ransom, Slope and Stutsman. The disaster declaration also makes federal assistance available to farmers and ranchers in 15 contiguous counties: Adams, Barnes, Billings, Cass, Foster, Griggs, Hettinger, Kidder, Logan, McIntosh, McKenzie, Richland, Sargent, Stark and Wells.
Earlier this month, various North Dakota counties were declared a disaster due to drought conditions. Previous primary and contiguous counties declared, but not listed as part of the expansion are: Benson, Eddy, Emmons, Grand Forks, Nelson, Ramsey, Pembina, Sioux, Steele, Traill and Walsh.
On July 27, Dalrymple requested that the USDA begin a statewide assessment of crop damages and production losses to determine which counties would qualify for a 2012 Secretarial Disaster Designation. Dalrymple's request for a damage assessment was based on drought conditions, disease and other weather-related perils that have adversely impacted farmers and ranchers. The damage assessments will be completed this fall and could lead to additional counties being added to the disaster declaration if crop damages become more widespread.