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North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum is pictured July 17 at a North Dakota Industrial Commission meeting at the state Capitol in Bismarck. Tom Stromme / Bismarck Tribune

Burgum declares statewide flood emergency

BISMARCK — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum signed an order declaring a statewide flood emergency Monday, Oct. 21, after an early blizzard struck the central and eastern parts of the state about 10 days ago. Coupled with a wet summer, the snow and ensuing floods has ruined crops and prevented many farmers from harvesting.

The emergency declaration clears the path for a request to the U.S. Department of Agriculture for federal assistance. If Burgum makes the request for a disaster declaration and USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue grants it, farmers in hard-hit counties could be eligible to receive reimbursement equal to the price of their lost crops.

Burgum and state Department of Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring are holding town halls in Fargo, Grand Forks, Jamestown and Fessenden Monday to hear about the impacts of the flooding from community leaders and residents.

Speaking at Fargo City Hall on Monday, Burgum said the economic hardship on farmers after the flood is "likely unprecedented," according to a news release.

The cities of Grand Forks, Jamestown, Valley City and LaMoure and the counties of Barnes, Cavalier, Grand Forks, LaMoure, Stutsman, Traill, Wells and Walsh previously declared flood emergencies, according to the release. More cities and counties are expected join the list after the state's Department of Emergency Services finishes a full assessment of the damages, Burgum spokesman Mike Nowatzki said last week.