Gov. Burgum expected to request federal relief after blizzard
BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is expected to ask for federal aid after an early blizzard struck the central and eastern parts of the state last week. The snow and ensuing floods left roads underwater and crops ruined.
The cities of Grand Forks, Jamestown, Valley City and LaMoure and the counties of Barnes, Cavalier, Grand Forks, LaMoure, Stutsman, Traill, Wells and Walsh already declared flood emergencies, Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki said. More cities and counties are expected join the list next week after the state's Department of Emergency Services finishes a full assessment of the damages, he said.
Upon completion of the assessment, Burgum is expected to request two federal disaster declarations — one to President Donald Trump for infrastructure concerns and one to U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue for agricultural considerations, Nowatzki said. The request to the president will not be issued for several weeks until the state can demonstrate at least $1 million in damage to infrastructure. The appeal to the USDA will likely come much sooner, though Nowatzki said there was not yet a designated date the request would be made.
If Perdue approves the request, it could free up federal funding for affected farmers and ranchers. To be eligible for USDA relief, a county must report at least 30% loss of any crop, although farmers and ranchers in directly adjacent counties can also apply for aid at their local Farm Service Agency office.
Burgum and state Department of Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring will hold town halls in Fargo, Grand Forks, Jamestown and Fessenden Monday, Oct. 21, to hear about the impacts of the flooding, according to a news release.
The snow, which piled 2 feet high in some areas, was doubly damaging to many farmers who couldn't harvest before the blizzard hit because of an unusually wet summer, according to AgWeek.