The number of irrigation permits issued in South Dakota last year soared as farmers worked to recover from a devastating drought the year before.
The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued 354 irrigation permits in 2013, more than doubling the 2012 total of 174. In 2011, only 62 permits were issued.
40 percent of last year's permits were issued in five southeastern counties that were hard-hit by drought in 2012.
State natural resources engineer Ron Duvall says drought was the main factor in the permit increase last year, but higher crop prices and lower interest rates also had an influence. He says the three factors created "the perfect storm" for more interest in irrigation.
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