(Bismarck, ND) -- Governor Doug Burgum and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring announced Thursday that the State Water Commission has reactivated the Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Project Assistance Program, as the governor declared a statewide drought disaster for extremely dry conditions across North Dakota.

The weekly U.S. Drought Monitor map released today by the National Drought Mitigation Center shows 70% of North Dakota in extreme drought – up from 47% last week – with the remainder of the state in severe or moderate drought.

“For the second time in five years, North Dakota ranchers are facing widespread, extreme drought conditions that threaten their herds and livelihoods,” Burgum said. “As part of our whole-of-government approach to drought response, today’s action by the State Water Commission provides relief to help livestock producers manage these hardships and invests in infrastructure that allows them to remain resilient against future droughts.”

Created in 1991 and last reactivated in 2017, the Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Project Assistance Program provides eligible livestock producers with 50 percent cost-share assistance of up to $4,500 per project, with a limit of three projects per applicant. Eligible projects include new water wells, rural water system connections, pipeline extensions, pasture taps and associated works, labor, materials, and equipment rentals to develop new water supply projects. 

The 2017 program supported more than 500 projects with total cost-share of approximately $1.5 million.

Thursday’s unanimous vote by the State Water Commission will utilize the remaining balance of $557,277 from the 2017 program to support this year’s program reactivation. Burgum chairs the commission and Goehring serves as a standing member.

“The Drought Disaster Livestock Water Supply Project Assistance Program has been invaluable in the past for livestock producers facing water shortages,” Goehring said. “Reopening the program will again help producers as we navigate this season of drought.”

Livestock producers in counties impacted by extreme drought intensity levels, and adjacent counties, will be eligible for the program. Details are available on the Water Commission’s website, which you can find by clicking here.