BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) – For the second time in five years, North Dakota ranchers are facing widespread, extreme drought conditions that threaten their herds and livelihoods.
In an effort to extend some relief, the State Water Commission has reactivated its Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Project Assistance Program to provide cost-share assistance for livestock producers.
Seventy percent of North Dakota is in extreme drought, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map released by the National Drought Mitigation Center.
Through this disaster program, eligible livestock producers may qualify for up to $4,500 in cost-share assistance for up to three water supply projects.
Keeping cows hydrated with water can be tough to do in extreme drought.
Diamond J Angus owner and operator Stephanie Hatzenbuhler says a lot of times, people end up having to haul water to cattle or figure out a way to build up storage to last a couple of days.
“Nobody likes doing that. There’s a lot of labor and hard work, where when you have a well, the initial cost is expensive, yes, but, looking back on it, it saves you time and labor where you could be doing something else,” said Hatzenbuhler.
Hatzenbuhler says although it’s rained and snowed these past couple of days, the drought isn’t over.
“Maybe it’s broke the cycle of not getting any rain that what we’re hoping for, but it pays to have a plan in case that is not happening. So, the plan is, you know, take advantage of programs, get the water, have a plan of what you’re going to do in a drought,” said Hatzenbuhler.
Hatzenbuhler is a recipient of the program and says she plans to put the funds towards two new water wells.
“It’s a discount. It seems like prices just keep increasing, we never get discounts, so some people like to say blessings just happen, I like to say sometimes blessings are things that are thrown out there in front of you that you need to take advantage of,” said Hatzenbuhler.
The 2017 program supported more than 500 projects with a total cost-share of approximately $1.5 million.
This year the State Water Commission will utilize the remaining balance of $557,277 from the 2017 program to support the program reactivation.
For more information about the program, contact the State Water Commission at 701-328-4989.
Copyright 2021 KFYR. All rights reserved.