BISMARCK — When the spigot is turned off. The whole state is in some sort of a drought monitor warning; over 80 percent being in a moderate condition. And there’s segments starting to show the D-2 level of the drought monitor, which is imminent damage to crops and forages. The next level is a level we don’t want to get to, but we have to face the realities. And reality is, we are seeing some challenging times because of the lack of moisture.
And it was just last year in parts of North Dakota, where excessive amounts of moisture was the problem. Well, welcome to North Dakota weather. It can be brutal, it can be very giving.
I’ve had many calls over the last week from farmers and ranchers wondering what the next step is, what is the step to having some assistance, having that set aside acres, the CRP acres, open and available. And the first step is: notify your county FSA office. Because the local, county FSA committees have some work to do. They have to demonstrate a 40 percent shortage in rainfall over the last few months, and a 40 percent reduction in the forage available, unless they’re a D-2 level county. Then that step can be skipped.
But nevertheless, it’s the farmer’s and rancher’s responsibility to reach out to the county office and let them know what your situation is so they can compile the data, request the state committee, which in turn contacts the USDA and the FSA at the federal level.
And folks are asking “Why do we have to wait so long?” And a lot of it is because of certain wildlife organizations pushing back on the use of those set-aside acres. But at NDFB, we have a policy, and I quote: “We believe in years of drought, excessive water and/or hay shortages, livestock shall take precedence over wildlife for the purpose of early haying and/or grazing on CRP acres,” end of quote.
People’s livelihoods should come first. Just as our United State Constitution states, and our state constitution says, that people are to be protected by the government that was instituted to serve them.
And those of you that aren’t in the agriculture community, but are our friends in town, understand that when challenges hit the back roads, they also affect the main streets.
For questions or comments, please contact Dawn Smith-Pfeifer.
— Daryl Lies, president of North Dakota Farm Bureau
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