Douglas County Farmers Seek Reclassification For Drought Assistance
The Summer of 2021 has been dry - extremely dry. And while the average person may not concern themselves with the specific amount of rain we received (or didn't receive in this case), the drought is a big deal to farmers who depend on the rainfall for their livelihood. The degree of the drought classification is also equally important as those farmers seek disaster relief.
Currently, Douglas County is rated at "D2 level, indicating a severe drought". Interestingly enough, Northern Minnesota is "rated D3, extreme drought" - according to the U.S. Drought Monitor, and sourced by the Superior Telegram. As we know from living in a border community like the Twin Ports, a geographic state line on a map often means more to someone from outside of our area; locally, the geographic areas are more similar than not.
That might be especially true this year when it comes to the official drought classification. Mark Liebaert, Douglas County Board Chairman suggests:
"There are weather monitor guys that have been doing it 20, 30 years, and they say we [Douglas County] are actually lower (in precipitation) than places in the orange (D3) area. Even the rains that were being reported were spotty. Different areas got them, and different areas missed them."
That difference in drought classification - especially if it's inaccurate - could prove to be costly for local farmers. A D3 drought classification provides farmers a path towards federal aid via a variety of channels including payment relief and low-interest loans. Lower drought classifications - like Douglas County currently has - stand less of a chance at those federal relief funds.