RAPID CITY, S.D. — Following a mild winter with very little snowfall and snow pack, most of South Dakota is experiencing drought conditions. So, the Butte County Commission has issued an emergency drought declaration to help locals.
The declaration was discussed in April and May, and finally announced on Tuesday. Low moisture has affected ranchers and farmers, and many have had to scale back product. Even the recent rain hasn’t been enough, as it has helped with grass, but not with sub-moisture.
“The state, NOAA, the [National] Weather Service – all those have determined that we’re in a drought period, and surface moisture’s at a pretty low level,” said Butte County Sheriff and emergency manager, Fred Lamphere. “So, it was just starting the process, and that will open up opportunities for drought relief through federal programs.”
Lamphere says the next step would be for other counties in the region to also announce drought declarations. The state would then ask for disaster relief through the federal government and create a declaration for the region.