Gov. Walz Announces $10 Million in Drought Relief

Today, Governor Tim Walz announced a $10 million drought relief package to support Minnesota farmers and livestock producers impacted by severe drought conditions during the 2021 growing season.

“Historic drought conditions have created extreme stress and financial hardship for our farmers and livestock producers during an already difficult time for the agricultural industry,” said Governor Walz. “As governor, and as someone who grew up on a family farm, I stand with our farmers. This funding will provide much-needed relief to Minnesota’s agricultural community and help ensure our farmers can keep feeding Minnesota and the world.”

The Governor’s proposal includes $5 million in rapid response grants to provide drought relief for livestock producers and specialty crop producers. Examples of eligible costs include water handling equipment such as water tanks, pipeline, and water wagons, water hauling, wells, and irrigation equipment.

The funding proposal also includes $5 million for the Rural Finance Authority’s Disaster Recovery Loan Program. The Rural Finance Authority’s Disaster Recovery Loan Program makes zero-interest loans available immediately for Minnesota farmers whose operations are suffering from lack of rain. The Disaster Recovery Loan Program can be used to help cover lost revenue or expenses not covered by insurance.

More details on the drought relief package will be announced soon.

This summer, Governor Walz met with agricultural leaders across the state to hear how the drought has impacted them. Governor Walz also met with President Joe Biden and USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to ask that all levels of government work together to address the impacts of this drought on Minnesota’s farmers.

Minnesota Drought Conditions Continue to Worsen

In the last week, northwest Minnesota went fromextreme to exceptional drought, stretching across nine counties. The exceptional drought starts in Polk and Norman counties and goes through Lake of Woods county. Severe and extreme drought covers the rest of northwest Minnesota.
This is the driest northwest Minnesota’s been since the 1980s. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Assistant State Climatologist Pete Boulay says 1988 was dry, but 1980 was worse.
“In 1980, conditions in northwest Minnesota were drier by another 1.5 inches compared to 1988,” explains Boulay. “This year, rainfall is seven inches short of normal as a whole. The big difference between 1988 and now is 1988 was a more universal drought. This drought is more hit-or-miss.”

Drought Conditions Continue to Expand

Nearly 97 percent of North Dakota is suffering from severe to exceptional drought, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. That’s up from 91 percent last week. The dry conditions are rapidly expanding in Minnesota. Seventy-two percent of the state is dealing with severe, extreme or exceptional drought, up from 52 percent last week. Ninety-nine percent of the spring wheat crop is in drought. Thirty-six percent of the corn and 31 percent of the soybeans nationwide are dealing with the drought conditions. Thirty-two percent of the U.S. cattle inventory are also faced with the lack of moisture.

Drought Townhalls Held

North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring hosted town hall meetings Wednesday and Thursday. During the meeting, farmers, ranchers and other area residents in the Washburn, Rugby and Medora areas discussed the challenges created by extreme drought conditions. Leadership reviewed the state’s response and answered questions. More than two-thirds of North Dakota is in extreme or exceptional drought, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor.
The meetings were livestreamed on the governor’s Facebook page at For information on drought relief resources, visit

Exceptional Drought Evident in North Dakota

Drought is intensifying across North Dakota. According to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, moderate-to-exceptional drought covers 97%. 16% of North Dakota is now in the exceptional drought category, which covers all of McHenry, McLean and Oliver Counties and portions of surrounding counties in the north-central and west-central part of the state. Minnesota experienced a 17% increase in dry conditions this past week. There are patches of moderate and severe drought in northwestern and southern Minnesota. 
*These conditions are as of Tuesday, May 18 and do not reflect any recent rainfall.

Extreme Drought Encompasses 85% of North Dakota

All of North Dakota is now experiencing either abnormally dry or some form of drought conditions. Extreme drought conditions increased 2% this past week. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor puts nearly 85% of the state in that category. 63% of Minnesota has good moisture, with the far southern and northwestern areas either abnormally dry or in moderate drought. The exception comes in Kittson and Marshall counties, where there is severe drought.
Check out the Drought Monitor.

Very Little Relief from Dry Conditions

There was little relief from drought conditions across the Northern Plains this past week. Three-quarters of North Dakota remains in extreme drought. The far southeastern corner of the state is abnormally dry, while a narrow band spanning from the Red River Valley and west is in moderate and severe drought. The majority of Minnesota has sufficient moisture, with far southern and northwestern areas either abnormally dry or in moderate drought. The exception comes in Kittson County where there is severe drought.

Dry in the West, Wet in the East

Rain and snow helped alleviate dry conditions across much of the Northern Plains, but extreme drought conditions worsened inareas not receiving this moisture. The latest U.S. Drought Monitor shows extreme drought conditions in North Dakota worsening to reflect growing moisture deficits. That extreme drought now covers 76 percent of the state, an increase of six percentage points from the previous week. Sargent and Richland Counties had a slight improvement in dry conditions. In Minnesota, locally heavy rainfall in the last week brought a two-category improvement in dryness across the western side of the state. There is also no more extreme drought in Kittson County.

Extreme Drought Conditions Expand

For another week, drought conditions continue to expand across the Dakotas. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, extreme drought now covers 70 percent of North Dakota, including the west, central and northeastern portions of the state. The remaining portion is in moderate to severe drought. On the flip side, Minnesota’s dry conditions are improving, with much of the state in the abnormally dry to severe drought category. A corner of Kittson County in the northwestern part of the state is in extreme drought. View the latest Drought Monitor.

Dry Conditions Expand in North Dakota

The lack of moisture and warmer than normal temperatures are causing extreme drought conditions to expand across the Dakotas. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, extreme drought now extends from border to border across 29 central and western counties in North Dakota. The remaining portion of North Dakota is in moderate to severe condition.
On the flip side, Minnesota’s dry conditions are improving, with only parts of Kittson, Marshall and Rock counties in severe drought. The western part of Minnesota ranges from abnormally dry to moderately dry.