North Dakota farmers are all too familiar with crop damage caused by hail. In 2013, Governor Dalrymple declared an agricultural disaster in 31 hail damaged counties. A severe thunderstorm the following year also inflicted extensive damage from hail. One farmer said his canola crop was waist high before the storm beat it to the ground.
North Dakota farmers have coped with hail ever since farming began in the state. The North Dakota Hail Insurance Initiative was approved in 1918. It authorized the legislature to create property taxes dedicated to hail insurance. The move was timely. State Farmers suffered extensive hail damage in the fall of 1919. On this date that year, the Fargo Forum and Daily Republican reported that the state was preparing to pay hail warrants for the losses.
The amount of damage depends on the stage of growth. Crops at an early stage are less susceptible than more mature crops. The worst time is at harvest, and that’s exactly when the 1919 storm hit.
But the state auditor warned that the compensation process would be long. He reported that about 12,000 farmers had filed for relief, having harvested little or no crop. After ten days of steady work, less than four thousand warrants had been processed. This came at a time of threatened staff cuts. He said cutting his staff from five to two, would mean the remaining warrants would take five to six months to process.
The auditor’s office was also responsible for processing expense accounts, salaries, tax collection, and the purchase of equipment and supplies. But he said that the warrants were his top priority. He warned that legislators and state officials would just have to wait their turn. Even soldiers would have to wait for the bonuses they had earned. The legislature found his argument convincing and held off on the staffing cuts, which allowed the warrants to be processed in a matter of weeks.
Dakota Datebook written by Carole Butcher
Fargo Forum and Daily Republican. “Hail Warrants Will Be Paid.” 23 December, 1919
North Dakota Office of the Governor. “USDA Declares Disaster For North Dakota Crop Losses.” "http://governor.nd.gov/media-center/news/usda-declares-disaster-north-dakota-crop-losses" http://governor.nd.gov/media-center/news/usda-declares-disaster-north-dakota-crop-losses Accessed 23 November, 2015.
KXNews. “Crop Hail Damage.” "http://www.kxnet.com/story/25959953/crop-hail-damage" http://www.kxnet.com/story/25959953/crop-hail-damage Accessed 23 November, 2015.