MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Gov. Tim Walz has requested emergency aid from federal officials to help Minnesota farmers and ranchers impacted by the worsening drought.
In a Wednesday letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Walz asked that Minnesota farmers be allowed emergency grazing and haying on land that’s been set aside for conservation as part of the Conservation Reserve Program.
The emergency grazing and haying would be allowed only in areas experiencing severe drought or worse.
“The urgency of this request cannot be overstated,” the governor wrote, noting that the quality of forage on conservation land also continues to deteriorate each day. He says that any delay would spell the available resources useless.
If farmers aren’t able to access feed for their livestock, the Walz advised, they’ll be forced to sell animals or purchase hay to haul in.
The last time any part of #MNwx was in an EXTREME drought was April 2013.
The @DroughtCenter defines "Extreme" as:
* Corn is harvested early; emergency haying and grazing are authorized
* Wildfires are widespread
* Surface waters are near record lows https://t.co/wuXxd4I8mD
— Mike Augustyniak (@MikeAugustyniak) July 15, 2021
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, more than half of Minnesota is experiencing severe drought. As of this week, areas of central and north-central Minnesota are now under extreme drought conditions, something not seen in the state since 2013.
Most of Minnesota has experienced drought conditions since June. Over the last several weeks, conditions have worsened. The recent emergence of extreme drought means that wildfires are easily sparked in such areas and crops are harvested early.
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