South Dakota officials are encouraging farmers and ranchers to share drought impact information through the website, droughtreporter.unl.edu.
The information is part of the formula the government uses to determine the seriousness of the drought, which in turn affects federal disaster aid. Several programs base eligibility on the drought designation assigned to specific counties.
"It is so important that South Dakota's farmers and ranchers share information of the impact this drought is having on their land and livestock through this website," says Mike Jaspers, South Dakota secretary of agriculture. "The Drought Monitor can only be as accurate as the data used to write it. The more people sending in reports, the more data points the authors have to get a clear and complete picture of conditions on the ground."
The site was developed by the USDA in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Nebraska in Lincoln.
The U.S. Drought Monitor reporting tool can be found at droughtreporter.unl.edu under the Submit Report tab. This report allows producers to:
• provide a written description of drought impacts on livelihood, activities, etc.
• select categories to show losses and gains as a result of the drought
• report on the duration of drought event
• select “affected places” — geographic areas ranging from an entire state to a small area within a state
• submit images that document the drought and its impact
• provide contact information (includes an option to keep information confidential)
For more information, including state-specific drought impact maps, visit the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Source: SDSU Extension