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Governor Daugaard Activates State Drought Task Force


            Office of the Governor

500 E. Capitol Ave.

Pierre, S.D. 57501

(605) 773-3212



 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 17, 2012

CONTACT: Tony Venhuizen or Joe Kafka at 605-773-3212


Governor Daugaard Activates State Drought Task Force


PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard today activated the state Drought Task Force to monitor worsening drought conditions across much of South Dakota.


The task force will have its first meeting on Monday, July 23, in Pierre.


The group will coordinate the exchange of drought information among government agencies and agriculture, fire, and water-supply organizations. The information exchange is the key to monitoring the development and seriousness of the drought. The task force will also monitor the impact of drought on economic sectors of the state.


“Much of South Dakota was struggling with record flooding just a year ago, but conditions have rapidly reversed,’’ Gov. Daugaard said. “We have been closely tracking weather patterns, and the Drought Task Force will give us a forum to exchange facts and data so our citizens can count on having the most up-to-date information as they respond to the drought.’’


Officials with the South Dakota Department of Agriculture, the state Office of Emergency Management and South Dakota State University Cooperative Extension Service have been actively tracking drought conditions for several weeks.


In addition, those agencies have worked with local officials and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency on the agricultural disaster declaration process, including pursuit of options to allow haying and grazing on land enrolled in the Conservation Reserve Program.


The latest U.S. Drought Monitor (http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu) shows all of South Dakota at least abnormally dry, with some areas in moderate drought and areas of the southwest and south central in severe drought.


Agencies and groups represented on the Drought Task Force include the: Governor’s Office, Department of Agriculture, Department of Public Safety, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Game, Fish and Parks, Bureau of Information and Telecommunications, South Dakota Association of County Commissioners, South Dakota National Guard, state climatologist, federal Farm Service Agency, and South Dakota Association of Rural Water Systems.