Posted by Nicole
PIERRE, SD - Gov. Mike Rounds has requested a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) secretarial drought disaster declaration for 23 South Dakota counties.
Many areas in South Dakota are in their seventh consecutive year of drought. Counties are reporting shortages of livestock forage due to significantly below normal precipitation and inadequate soil moisture. This prolonged drought has left dams and dugouts dry and has forced producers to begin reducing their livestock herds.
"These conditions continue to bring economic hardship, not only to our affected farmers and ranchers, but also to those businesses that depend on them," said Gov. Rounds.To date, 23 South Dakota counties have issued agricultural disaster resolutions. Those counties are Brule, Buffalo, Campbell, Corson, Custer, Dewey, Edmunds, Fall River, Faulk, Hughes, Hyde, Jackson, Jerauld, Jones, Lyman, Meade, Pennington, Perkins, Potter, Stanley, Sully, Walworth, and Ziebach.
"I have asked the USDA to allow a portion of our CRP acres to be hayed beginning July 10, 2006, in those 23 counties," said Gov. Rounds. "We need to start the process now to open those lands for haying while there is still enough feed value left."
Rounds has also requested that USDA allow for immediate grazing of other lands in those 23 South Dakota counties that are intermixed within CRP fields. Those areas may be the water source for livestock and would further limit a landowner’s ability to graze livestock on CRP without access to those areas.
Rounds further issued an executive order allowing right-of-ways along the state highway trunk system to be mowed for hay on July 3, 2006, or one week earlier than normal. In addition, Rounds has waived the permit fees for transportation of baled livestock feed and allowed overwidth loads to be moved on the state highway trunk system and interstate system between one half hour after sunset and one half hour before sunrise.
To further assist producers, the state also has a feed finder hotline to help connect those looking for feed and those with feed available. The hotline is available by calling 1-800-228-5254 or on the internet at the SD Dept. of Agriculture website: http://www.state.sd.us/doa
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