USDA Officials Review Drought Conditions in North Dakota

North Dakota Senator John Hoeven hosted senior officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) at meetings in Mandan, Minot, Carrington and Argusville to assess drought conditions and gather input from agriculture producers. Risk Management Agency (RMA) Acting Administrator Richard Flournoy and Farm Service Agency (FSA) Administrator Zach Ducheneaux recieved firsthand knowledge of the situation and to help inform farmers and ranchers of the resources available.
Hoeven, Flournoy and Ducheneaux discussed the following assistance and flexibilities that are available to assist producers, to date: 
Available Emergency Assistance
  • Emergency Grazing – Producers in 50 North Dakota counties are currently eligible for emergency grazing of CRP acres at limited capacity.
  • Livestock Forage Program – Provides payments to livestock owners for feed costs, up to 60 percent of the total monthly cost. Producers in 50 North Dakota counties are currently eligible.
  • Emergency Livestock Assistance Program (ELAP) – Provides assistance to livestock producers for losses not covered by other disaster programs, including assistance for the cost of hauling water to livestock.
Further, Hoeven outlined efforts to secure additional disaster assistance, including:
  • Urging Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to allow both emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres in North Dakota before August 1.
  • CRP acres in 50 North Dakota counties are currently eligible to be grazed at limited capacity, they are not eligible to be hayed.
  • In a recent letter to Vilsack, Hoeven led the delegation in stressing the risk of poor forage conditions if producers wait until the required date to hay.
  • Pressing RMA to work with approved insurance providers to ensure quick and fair crop adjustments and payments.
This week’s meetings follow efforts to finalize the Quality Loss Adjustment (QLA) program and the Wildfire, Hurricane and Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+). The senator is urging USDA to send out the recently-announced payments to producers as soon as possible, which will cover their full QLA payments and additional WHIP+ payments covering 90% of 2019 indemnities as a result.
Producers affected by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019 were eligible to apply for QLA, which covers losses from hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, typhoons, volcanic activity, snowstorms, wildfires, drought and excessive moisture. Additional information on QLA and WHIP+ is available from USDA at