Drought fears linger into a dusty horizon for next year

Local News

ROSEBUD RESERVATION, S.D. (KELO) — The forecast is calling for continued hot, dry weather and it sounds like there’s not much relief in sight to help with our ongoing drought.

In the south central part of the state, conditions aren’t as bad as some other areas, but farmers and ranchers fears are far from over.

“If we can just catch a few more rains this summer, we can definitely make it till the fall,” Rosebud Sioux Tribal Ranch manager Joe Ross said.

That’s the hope but fear lingers on a dusty horizon on the Rosebud Reservation. Rosebud Sioux Tribal Ranch manager Joe Ross says it hasn’t been this dry in these parts since 2017.

“The conditions haven’t been very good, you know, hay production is down our grass is getting shorter and shorter every day,” Ross said.

The tribal ranch consists of 18 thousand acres and 300 head of cattle. Ross says he’s not so worried about this year as he is next.

“We’re stressed out little bit we’re not putting up as much hay as we should be right now,” Ross said.

Ross says they have stockpiles of hay, but worries they won’t have enough for the winter months.

“Some of the hay fields haven’t grown very much,” Rosebud Tribal President Rodney Bordeaux said.

Rosebud Tribal President Rodney Bordeaux says it’s not just the tribe’s ranch that’s affected.

“Other tribal ranchers and producers are having a similar tough time,” Bordeaux said.

Bordeaux says because they hay isn’t growing, a lot of ranchers are starting to become concerned.

“Generally around this area it’s going to be tough feeding their cattle this winter, it’s not looking very good,” Bordeaux said.

They haven’t started selling livestock yet, but that is one option they might have to consider if the drought persists, but he also has another idea to help those who are struggling if it comes to that.

“With this funding from the American Rescue Plan, you know, if we could help out our producers with that, we’re sure going to look at that,” Bordeaux said.

Bordeaux says they’ll have to figure out how to make it work.

“Some programs or entities that have been impacted by the virus, so you have to write it in terms of the virus and how impacted you, so they’ll have to be very creative in tying that in,” Bordeaux said.

And hopefully close the gate on another summer drought.

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