Governor Dennis Daugaard has issued a statewide Drought Emergency. Many parts of the state are lacking moisture, and crops and livestock are suffering in most of South Dakota. Daugaard says the Drought Emergency relaxes some requirements in place in a normal growing season.
Daugaard says, “It will help ease transport restrictions, allowing the movement of hay and feed within the drought area more easily. It will remove some of the restrictions that would otherwise restrict ag producers to within 150 miles of their home. This will allow them to transport hay across the state. We’re also allowing oversize loads so that people can mow large amounts of hay—so long as they have reflectors and oversize signage. Special permits will be available at no charge to those who wish to bring oversize loads onto our state highways.”
Daugaard says the designation allows livestock owners to use exceptional measures to feed their animals.
The Governor says, “State highways that have grass in the ditch areas will become available to the landowners who are immediately adjacent to the ditches. And they can go into those ditches and immediately mow and bale the hay. We will still restrict the median in the state, in the Interstates; and we will still be managing the mowing, the DOT will, in the urban areas—but otherwise, elsewhere in the state, this will help those who need hay and can get it from those roadside ditches on state highways.”
The latest U-S Drought Monitor shows most of north central South Dakota in the Severe Drought category. Only a handful of counties in the southeast and east central parts of the state are under normal conditions. The Drought Emergency is effective immediately.