NDSU Extension Helps Producers Cope With Disasters

North Dakotans have faced a number of disasters recently, including flooding, drought and winter storms.

“NDSU Extension has played a critical role in facilitating state-level discussions regarding disaster impacts to producers and providing producers with critical information to help  them respond and ultimately recover from these events,” says Miranda Meehan, disaster education coordinator.

A key part of that effort was Extension specialists and agents assessing the impacts of the damage. For example, after an early winter storm hit Steele County, Extension agent  Angie Johnson worked with the local emergency manager, Farm Service Agency (FSA) director and impacted producers to develop a spreadsheet to help estimate the potential value of lost crops.

Statewide, Extension’s damage assessment work contributed to a secretarial disaster declaration because of a snow storm and a presidential disaster declaration for spring  flooding and a late June 2020 storm. Extension also conducted forage availability surveys that resulted in a feed transportation assistance program through the North Dakota Department of Agriculture that distributed $250,000 to 116 ranchers.

“NDSU Extension agents have been critical in assessing agriculture impacts and in aiding in developing disaster mitigation plans,” says Kathleen Donahue of the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services.

NDSU Extension also coordinates and leads regular disaster calls with state and federal agencies, commodity groups and congressional staff.

“I really appreciate the calls and how well organized they are,” says Darrell Nitschke, western regional director for U.S. Representative Kelly Armstrong of North Dakota.

Other ways Extension has helped producers:

  • Hosted three winter cow management webinars and 10 webinars on agriculture challenges that received 250 live and 1,486 video views
  • Partnered with the FSA to host six webinars on federal assistance programs that received 783 live and 1,050 video views
  • Created Ag Disasters and Drought webpages that have been accessed by 44,880 users 51,151 times
  • Held six Preparing Your Ranch for Drought webinars

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

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