Walz says Minnesota is entering the drought warning phase

Governor Walz wants Minnesota farmers and ranchers affected by the drought to know he’s doing what he can to help.

“First of all, we hear you. The good news is both USDA at the federal level and the state have things in place. We’ve been through this before (and) producers know this, but Minnesotans (need to know) this is getting pretty serious. You’ve seen the news from out west, and it’s kind of moving this direction.”

Walz recently asked U.S. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack to allow haying and grazing on Conservation Reserve Program acres in drought-stressed areas.

“We don’t usually pull stuff off that until August, but (that forage) will be gone by then. We’ve already got folks coming from North Dakota trying to buy forage in Minnesota, and of course that’s going to drive up the price.”

He tells Brownfield the worsening drought has triggered some rural financing flexibility on zero-interest loans.

“We know it’s serious (and) the folks who are involved in this have been monitoring and there is a system in place to start to respond.”

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources announced today that with more than half the state experiencing severe to extreme drought, the agency would be implementing the drought warning phase.  Governor Walz says that designation allows a drought task force of producers, scientists, and members of his administration to begin looking at additional ways to assist.

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