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Drought Task Force Hopes To Provide Relief

July 23, 2012, 7:15 PM by Brady Mallory

Drought Task Force Hopes To Provide Relief
PIERRE, SD -

Dry and intense heat has South Dakota in a vice grip and it isn't letting go anytime soon.  Most of the state is in either in a moderate or severe drought.

On Monday, Governor Dennis Daugaard held his first drought task force in Pierre.

According to the state climatologist, these drought temperatures are going to stay consistent or even get worse through October.  On Monday, the officials with Game, Fish and Parks Department, emergency management and the farmer's union talked about how to provide some relief to the state.

You can see it in struggling crops, but it is also taking a toll on KELOLAND farmers and ranchers.

It's an odd choice of words describing our lack of rain this summer.

"Blowing records out of the water.  That's how dry we've been," state climatologist Dennis Todey said.

Todey says we might get some rain here and there, but not enough to solve our problems.  According to the most recent drought monitor, not only will we be warmer than average for the next few months, but big rains won't come until the fall.

"In a drought year, and in an election year, you have to remain fluid.  Things will change with the political process.  So, what we tell you may change tomorrow morning," Craig Schaunaman with USDA FSA said.

Not only is the heat scorching our crops, it's also making finding a drink of water tough.

"Quality is becoming an issue, too.  I've heard reports of cattle losses from people getting poor water quality.  And cattle sell-off because of poor water in west river," Todey said.

The task force hopes to provide some relief.  With much of the state at or passing abnormally dry, officials say most every county can get access to conservation acres for haying and grazing. 

"We can't change the weather.  What we can do is step up our communication and step up our responses to citizens," Daugaard said.

Officials say counties will get access to conservation acres after August 1.  Officials also said emergency loan interest rates will be lowered from 3.75 percent to 2.25 percent.

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