NDSU Extension Agile in Response to Drought

NDSU Extension’s agility during the drought allowed Extension agents and specialists to provide timely resources and support for farmers and ranchers in North Dakota.  

Having hosted bi-weekly disaster response calls with federal and state agencies and stakeholder groups in the state since 2019, NDSU Extension had well-established relationships and collaborations to respond proactively with drought resources for farmers and ranchers.  

As a result of NDSU Extension’s leadership in disaster response, Miranda Meehan, NDSU Extension livestock environmental stewardship specialist and disaster coordinator, was appointed as co-leader for the drought recovery section of the state’s Unified Command.  

NDSU Extension’s public response began early in winter 2021 with a webinar series to aid ranchers in developing drought plans. This series was followed by a monthly webinar series to help ranchers navigate the ongoing drought in April through October.  

As the drought progressed, NDSU Extension observed, assessed and documented local drought impacts, helping to open the door for federal and state assistance programs.  

“County-based Extension agents played a crucial role in monitoring drought conditions for the drought monitor map,” says Meehan.  

The drought monitor map is used to determine the need for drought disaster designation that triggers federal assistance programs. That information is also used by decision makers at the state level to determine needs for additional assistance for farmers and ranchers impacted by drought.  

Extension agents also helped ranchers monitor the drought’s impact on water quality through NDSU Extension’s Livestock Water Quality program.  

“If you look at the maps of livestock water projects funded through the state Water Commission, a lot of the projects funded were in areas where Extension agents have been screening water samples,” says Meehan.  

Additionally, NDSU Extension assessed drought impacts to forage and feed resources, resulting in $2.5 million from the Emergency Feed Transportation Assistance program through the North Dakota Department of Agriculture.  


NDSU Ag Hub - Drought Web Page 

Extension's Efforts in Drought Monitoring Video

Miranda Meehan, 701-231-7683, miranda.meehan@ndsu.edu

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