ND governor requests presidential disaster declaration

(Valley News Live) North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum has requested a presidential major disaster declaration because of severe drought conditions that continue to plague farmers, ranchers and other residents across much of the state.

The request is being sent to President Trump through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and seeks to activate the Individual Assistance program and make Direct Federal Assistance available.

The governor also is asking for additional staff from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies to provide program expertise for those impacted by drought.

“This request is based upon a severe drought that has adversely impacted state agribusinesses and producers, residents and the overall economy,” Burgum stated in the request.

“During the spring and summer, continuous dry conditions over extended periods of record-breaking heat, well below average precipitation and wind have fueled frequent wild land fires, endangering the health and safety of our residents and the livelihood of our producers.”

Nearly 94 percent of the state is in some level of drought, directly affecting more than 425,000 residents. About 8 percent of the state is in exceptional drought.