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Goehring: Emergency Hay Transportation program helped ranchers dealing with drought

ND Agriculture Dept.

2017 will be remembered in North Dakota’s agriculture community for the drought.

North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring said the drought hit cattle producers especially hard.

"Because of the lack of feed and forage, and having to go out and purchase more and more hay, having to find pasture further away -- it was daunting," Goehring said.

Goehring said that was one of the reasons for the Emergency Hay Transportation Program. The state’s Emergency Commission approved $1.5 million for the program, which reimbursed eligible producers for a part of their hay transportation expenses incurred between June first and November 17th.

"The amount of hay that was moved this year was close to 290,000 bales of hay that were moved 1.3 million miles," Goehring said. "We had about 492 applicants for the program."

Goehring said his department also calculated how many head of cattle were impacted through this program.

"It was about 126,000 head of livestock," Goehring said.

Goehring said the program was a success.

"It helped keep a lot of that foundation herd," Goehring said. He also said it really helped Main Street.

"A number of those businesses will be impacted by a drought," Goehring said. "Saving the foundation herd gave Main Street some room to breathe."

Funding for the program came from the state’s Department of Emergency Services.

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