ARGUSVILLE, N.D. (NOV. 8, 2019) – Gov. Doug Burgum and state Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring today applauded the announcement that U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has approved the governor’s request for a secretarial disaster designation for 47 of North Dakota’s 53 counties, making assistance available to farmers and ranchers struggling with the impacts of an early blizzard and abnormally wet fall.
Burgum submitted the request to Perdue last Friday, working in cooperation with Goehring, North Dakota’s congressional delegation of U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, U.S. Sen. Kevin Cramer and Congressman Kelly Armstrong, the federal Farm Service Agency and agencies across state government. Today’s announcement was made as U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Under Secretary for Farm Production and Conservation Bill Northey was in North Dakota to see and hear about the tremendous challenges facing the state’s farmers and ranchers.
“We deeply appreciate Secretary Perdue’s quick response to our request, because help can’t come soon enough for our farmers and ranchers facing one of the most difficult and stressful seasons on record,” Burgum said. “We continue to explore every available avenue to make sure our ag producers have the resources and tools they need to cope with these unprecedented wet conditions that are delaying the harvest and hurting our livestock producers. We’re extremely grateful to the state, federal and local officials and all the agencies that helped prepare the disaster request.”
“We are extremely grateful to Secretary Perdue for his swift reply to our request,” said Goehring, who is currently in Mexico with Perdue on a trade mission. “The designation makes resources available to help alleviate the difficult situation North Dakota agricultural producers are facing.”
A secretarial disaster designation allows for implementation of FSA’s Emergency Farm Loan Program and the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Loan Program for farm-related business. The Wildfires and Hurricanes Indemnity Program+ (WHIP+) is also available to eligible producers in presidential disaster-declared and secretarial-designated primary counties for 2018 and 2019 qualifying disaster events, which are flooding, snowstorm, tornado and wildfire in North Dakota.
Of the 47 counties included in the designation, 45 have experienced a minimum 30 percent production loss of at least one crop due to natural disaster, and the other two are eligible for the designation because of the inability to secure commercial financing to cover losses.
This morning, Burgum and state Deputy Agriculture Commissioner Tom Bodine helped welcome Northey to Argusville for a roundtable discussion hosted by Hoeven with Cramer and local producers. Burgum and Goehring invited Northey to North Dakota last month to see how record fall precipitation, flooding, an early October blizzard and cold temperatures have delayed fall harvest and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in crop losses already, with billions more at risk. A field tour was planned after the roundtable.
In the last week, Burgum, working in cooperation with Goehring and other state agencies, has signed executive orders waiving certain restrictions on hauling of hay, livestock, propane and other petroleum products to help farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses dealing with the compressed harvest season.