Rain finally falls, but the drought holds on

The National Weather Service in Bismarck reported 33 hundredths of an inch of rain recorded at the Williston Airport by 1 p.m., and about 3/4 of an inch at a weather station to the southwest of that.
The long-range forecast does call for showers off and on in the afternoon hours through the rest of this week into the middle of next week, but these are likely to be spotty, Jones said, and not substantial enough to alter the present dry conditions.
A drought disaster has meanwhile been declared for nearly all of North Dakota, which will make possible additional response and assistance from state and federal agencies.
The U.S. Drought Monitor’s weekly report rated nearly 46 percent of the state in extreme or exceptional drought, up from 40 percent last week.
Doug Burgum signed an executive order late Wednesday declaring a drought disaster for those counties or tribal nations in severe drought, which is rated as D2 on the Drought Monitor map, or worse.
A variety of emergency assistance is available to farmers and ranchers in the Upper Plains experiencing drought conditions at both state and national levels.
• Ranchers in D3 or higher drought areas are now immediately eligible for payments under the Livestock Forage Disaster program.
• Emergency loans through FSA are available to ranchers in counties that have been designated as natural disaster areas due to the drought.
The producers have eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply.
• A 12-month exemption has been provided to producers with FSA loans requiring that they have physical control of livestock.

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