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Published May 06, 2010, 11:00 PM

Dane Gillett, Grafton, N.D., letter: Program proves to be godsend to DL farmers

The Wetlands Reserve Program is a great program. I am glad to see something being done in Washington this year for North Dakota farmers in the Devils Lake basin — farmers who have been through and have lost so much.

By: Dane Gillett ,

GRAFTON, N.D. — I want to applaud Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., for implementing the Wetlands Reserve Program.

WRP it is a great program. I am glad to see something being done in Washington this year for North Dakota farmers in the Devils Lake basin — farmers who have been through and have lost so much.

The farm on the west end of Stump Lake that belongs to my uncles, Tim and Kevin Gillett, already has lost 500 acres and loses more every time the lake rises due to the flooding. But nevertheless, they have the “can-do spirit” that every North Dakotan should have and that I try to mimic.

My grandpa Rodger would be proud to call Conrad his senator. He wouldn’t believe his eyes if he could see all the flooding that has taken place.

I can remember riding in the combine with my grandpa only five years ago on land that is now flooded. He died in September, and for the three or four years before that, he had suffered from Parkinson’s disease and dementia. So, the last thing he could remember was the rising of the lake and the way it claimed so much of his land, land that he had worked so hard for 40 years to own.

He had watched it flood, knowing that he’d never be able to farm it again nor would he be compensated for it.

That is why I love the WRP. I do have one question about it, though: Why do my uncles get taxed for their land that now is underwater? That is what needs to be fixed.

Also, I am inviting Conrad to my high school graduation on May 30 in Grafton.

I hope he can make it.

Dane Gillett

Editor’s note: The WRP is a voluntary program giving landowners the chance to protect, restore and enhance wetlands on their property. Under WRP, farmers and ranchers who saw their land swallowed up by the natural overflow of closed basin lakes such as Devils Lake and Stump Lake can apply to recoup damages.

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