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North Dakota is currently facing severe drought conditions in some regions. Click here for information and resources available for North Dakota producers.
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2021 DROUGHT INFORMATION FOR NORTH DAKOTA PRODUCERS

As changing drought conditions continue to impact North Dakota's producers, my office stands ready to provide assistance and information.

Read below for contact information, resources, and answers to frequently asked questions. 

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How can we help?

If you'd like to speak with my office regarding drought assistance, please contact Kaitlyn Weidert at (701) 837-6141 or Drew Lingle at (202) 224-2043.

NEW! DROUGHT HOTLINE AND INTERACTIVE HAY MAP

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring has reactivated the Drought Hotline and interactive hay map. First activated in 2017, the hotline and map are available for ranchers affected by the drought.

The interactive hay map is available at www.nd.gov/ndda. Users may click on the icons to retrieve information about available hay, pasture and hayland in their area.

NEW! PRODUCERS CAN NOW HAY, GRAZE AND CHOP COVER CROPS ANYTIME AND STILL RECEIVE FULL PREVENTED PLANTING PAYMENT

Agricultural producers with crop insurance can hay, graze, or chop cover crops for silage, haylage or baleage at any time and still receive 100% of the prevented planting payment.

Previously, cover crops could only be hayed grazed or chopped after November 1, otherwise the prevented planting payment was reduced by 65%. Learn more here.

Information on USDA’s disaster assistance program, including county lists and maps, can be found here.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Who should I contact to discuss options for my operation?

First, contact your county United States Department of Agriculture - Farm Service Agency (USDA-FSA) office. For contact information, click here. Information regarding the North Dakota FSA office available here

What is the Livestock Water Supply Program?

On April 8, 2021, Governor Burgum and Agriculture Commissioner Goehring announced the State Water Commission reactivated the Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Project Assistance Program. The program provides eligible livestock producers with 50 percent cost-share assistance of up to $4,500 per project, with a limit of three projects per applicant. Eligible projects include new water wells, rural water system connections, pipeline extensions, pasture taps and associated works, labor, materials, and equipment rentals to develop new water supply projects. Livestock producers in counties impacted by extreme drought (D3) intensity levels, and adjacent counties, will be eligible for the program. More information on the program is available here

What is the Emergency Haying and Grazing of CRP?

Under abnormally dry conditions, USDA-FSA can authorize emergency haying and grazing of eligible conservation reserve program (CRP) acres to alleviate a shortfall of forage, generally outside the Primary Nesting Season (PNS) for certain wildlife. In North Dakota, the PNS is April 15 - August 1. 

Like all Farm Bill programs, the potential for emergency haying and grazing is only meant as a lifeline for livestock producers. Under the direction of President Trump, USDA streamlined emergency haying and grazing on CRP acres to reasonably meet the needs of cattle producers without distorting the market hay producers need. 

CRP participants in counties that are in a D3 or D4 drought status, or a D2 drought status of 8 weeks or greater, may request to perform emergency grazing during the primary nesting season. Ineligible counties currently include Barnes, Cass, Ransom, Richland, Sargent, Steele, and Traill as they have only been in D2 status for seven weeks. 

Information on emergency haying and grazing on eligible CRP acres, including ineligible acres, is available here

The map of drought-level eligible counties for CRP Emergency Haying and Grazing is available here, PNS considerations still apply. 

Am I eligible for the Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP)?

LFP makes payments to livestock producers who suffer losses on drought-affected pastureland. Payments are triggered by the drought intensity level and duration of drought for an individual county, as published in the U.S. Drought Monitor. 

View the LFP fact sheet here

Below is the table for the Livestock Forage Program:

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What is the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP)?

ELAP provides payments to producers of livestock as compensation for losses due to adverse weather, feed or water shortages, or other conditions that are not covered under LFP. For drought purposes, ELAP can help cover losses resulting from the additional cost of transporting water to livestock due to an eligible drought.

More information on ELAP is available here

What is the Emergency Conservation Program (ECP)?

ECP provides emergency funding and technical assistance to farmers and ranchers to implement emergency water conservation measures in periods of severe drought.

More information on ECP is available here

What should I do when my crops are damaged by drought?

Contact your AIP (agent) before putting spring-planted crop acres to another use such as harvesting for silage, diverting irrigation water, destroying the crop, or abandoning the acres. Notice of damage must be given within 72 hours of the initial discovery of damage or loss of production, but not later than 15 days after the end of the insurance period, even if the crop has not been harvested. It is very important to work closely with your AIP before making any changes to the care of the insured crop. The AIP must have a chance to appraise and release the acres before the crop is put to another use, destroyed, or abandoned. If an accurate appraisal cannot be made, or you disagree with the appraisal at the time acreage is to be destroyed or no longer cared for, you and the AIP can select representative sample areas of the crop to be left intact for future appraisal purposes. In this case, the representative sample areas must continue to be cared for, with the exception of irrigation, until the final appraisal can be made. 

Learn more here

Should I continue to care for crops damaged by drought?

Crops that have been damaged and will be taken to harvest must be cared for and maintained using generally recognized good farming practices. Agricultural experts in the area can advise on farming practices required to maintain the production in the field and to help protect the crop from further damage. With the AIP's agreement, you may destroy or abandon the crop and leave representative sample areas in accordance with paragraph 88 of the Loss Adjustment Manual (LAM). The representative sample areas must be maintained as if the entire crop was left intact until the AIP conducts a final inspection and releases the representative sample areas. Failure to properly maintain the crop following damage could result in a determination that the cause of loss was not covered and, therefore, no claim payment is due. 

What tax provisions are in place to help producers?

Special federal income tax rules are available to producers who find it necessary to sell more livestock than they normally would because of drought.

One rule allows the gain on the additional livestock sold to be delayed and reported on the following year's tax return. This option requires a federal disaster area designation for the producer's area.

A second rule is available if the livestock sold were used for breeding, draft, or dairy purposes. Under the second rule, there is no tax on the gain from the additional livestock sold if the producer purchases the same type of livestock within the following two tax years. No federal disaster area designation is required to qualify for this two-year replacement option. However, if the producer's area is designated a federal disaster area, the producer has up to four tax years to replace the livestock. 

CONTACT INFORMATION AND RESOURCES:

Find your local USDA-FSA office here

Senator Cramer's Office: Minot, North Dakota (701) 837-6141 or Washington, D.C. (202) 224-2043

North Dakota FSA Office can be found here, or at (701) 239-5224

North Dakota Governor's Office can be found here, or at (701) 328-2200

North Dakota Department of Agriculture can be found here, or at (701) 328-2231

North Dakota State Water Commission can be found here, or at (701) 328-2750

U.S. Drought Monitor is available here