In The Moment ... October 19, 2017 Show 202 Hour 2

Bryan Jorgenson's grandmother and grandfather settled in South Dakota in 1909. His family stuck it out during the dirty thirties with resilience, faith, and a large family as their assets. It's a four-generation operation, with the fifth generation on the ground, doing what needs to be done for the future. Bryan Jorgenson was listed in Successful Farming Magazine on the Ten Successful Farmers list. He's a winner of the Leopold Award. He joins us from Ideal with a look at this year’s harvest.


In The Moment ... October 19, 2017 Show 201 Hour 2

We close today's Uncertain Bounty coverage with music from the Nesters – Jami Lynn and Eliza Blue. In the song "Perkins County" the duo explores the emotional toll hardship takes on those who wrest a living from the land. This performance was recorded at the Brickhouse Community Arts Center in Madison in August.


In The Moment ... October 19, 2017 Show 202 Hour 1

U.S. Senator John Thune stopped by the SDPB studios for a conversation about the 2018 Farm Bill and the intense political work that needs to be done. With a president whose trade decisions have caused anxiety in farm country and a Congress locked in battles over tax reform and healthcare, we started by talking about what it takes to gather the support for effective farm legislation. We also talk forest management, crop subsidies, and the politics of pushing farm legislation forward.

Uncertain Bounty - 2017 Drought By The Numbers

Oct 19, 2017
University of Nebraska Drought Mitigation Center

South Dakota residents are no stranger to drought.  The state’s position in the U-S and many unique landforms impact our weather—and in some years, keep the moisture away.  This year has brought extremely dry weather over most of South Dakota—with agriculture, tourism and nearly every other segment of life affected.  


In The Moment ... July 27, 2017 Show 143 Hour 1

SDSU Extension held meetings across South Dakota this week, addressing current problems and developing strategies to handle the state's worsening drought. Today, we dive into the issues drought is bringing South Dakotans. Joining us now ... state Climatologist Laura Edwards and Livestock Business Management Field Specialist Heather Gessner.

Extreme Drought Spreads in South Dakota

Jul 27, 2017
U.S. Drought Monitor

The drought has expanded in South Dakota. Officials say extreme drought is spreading to new areas of the state. Forecasts show no major improvements are expected in the next couple of weeks. 

Sections of west central, south central and central South Dakota are now in extreme drought. Some drought areas have seen small improvement due to rainfall but dry conditions are expected to persist.

Kelly Serr with the National Weather Service says it will take widespread precipitation for the state to recover.


In The Moment ... July 24, 2017 Show 140 Hour 1

Successful Farming Magazine has released its "10 Successful Farmers" list, honoring ag professionals who choose to innovate, adapt, and sustain successful ag business. One of this year's honorees hails from Ideal, South Dakota and his method is simple: watch how Mother Nature takes care of herself and mimic her ways. Today, Bryan Jorgenson joins us. Read his full story here: Agriculture.com/10farmers.

Smoke Covering Black Hills From Montana Fire

Jul 21, 2017
Lee Strubinger / SDPB

Smoke from several fires in Montana is blanketing the Black Hills this afternoon.

Spearfish Fire Chief Mark Sachara says the northern hills have experienced thick smoke all morning.

That smoke started creeping into Rapid City around noon.

Sachara says the smoke is from a 30,000 acre fire.

“That fire is by Miles City. That’s the one that’s predominantly sending the smoke our way. With that many fires across the whole part of Montana, the wind is aligned just perfectly. It brought the smoke our way.”

In The Moment ... July 17, 2017 Show 135 Hour 1

Tomorrow is a pivotal day for the Dakota Power Community Wind project and Lincoln County residents. The public votes to either keep the ordinance of a roughly quarter-mile setback between Dakota Wind's turbines and residences or increase the setback to a half mile. The result of the vote could change the future of clean energy in South Dakota. SDPB's Leah Cover joins us with more.

Drought Conditions Expand in South Dakota

Jul 13, 2017
US Drought Monitor

Drought conditions have continued to expand over the last week in South Dakota officials say the drought is currently expected to get worse before it starts getting better.

Since last week the drought in South Dakota has expanded throughout the state with little rain to help lessen its effects. Travis Tarver is a meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Aberdeen. He says drought conditions have worsened across the state with the northern part of the state seeing the worst of it.


In The Moment ... June 27, 2017 Show 123 Hour 2

As more than half the state faces drought conditions, the impact reveals itself in often unexpected ways. We begin hour two of the program by welcoming South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Mike Jaspers.

Since 1974, more than 200 South Dakotans have been inducted into the South Dakota Hall of Fame. Today we welcome 2017 Hall of Fame inductee Harvey Wollman. His life in public service to the state includes time as a state senator, president of the senate, Lt. Governor and Governor.

Importance Of Drought Plans

Apr 12, 2017
SDSU Extension

It looks like South Dakota might be heading for a substantial drought in the coming months. Officials remind producers to keep steps in place to protect their property.

South Dakota State University Extension members are asking cattle producers to revisit their drought plan. This refers to management steps taken if the area doesn’t receive enough precipitation. The plan also includes past precipitation numbers and what is needed to sustain livestock.

Personalities: Roy and Lucille Fitz Pt. II

Sep 19, 2016

In this continuation of the story of Roy and Lucille Fitz, the De Smet couple discusses the reality of the Depression's effects on the plains. Roy says eastern South Dakota was hit in the early '30s. An acre of land valued at around $50 in the 1910's (about $1,200 today) had dropped to a mere five dollars (about $87 today). Crops dropped steeply in value, and it became difficult to feed livestock. Farmers and governments both were accumulating crippling debt.

On top of all this, droughts became normal and the infamous Dust Bowl began.


 Rainfall in western South Dakota this past week is helping to improve drought conditions. Much of the western part of the state has been under serve drought throughout the summer. 

Drought conditions are still persisting in western South Dakota with some areas in extreme drought. Matthew Bunkers is with the National Weather Service in Rapid City. ​ He says recent rainfall is providing short term relief. 

Most Of Western South Dakota In Drought As July Begins

Jun 30, 2016
U.S. Drought Mitigation Service, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The U-S Drought Mitigation Service has released its drought map for the week.  A large section of South Dakota is dry, and getting dryer.  A large part of West River is in a severe drought category.

A fairly long streak of dry weather is leading to deteriorating range and pasture conditions and poor crop production in western South Dakota.  National Weather Service Hydrologist Melissa Smith in Rapid City says drought issues are prevalent west of the Missouri River.

Western South Dakota In Drought

Jun 23, 2016
National Weather Service

Western South Dakota is sliding into a drought. The U.S. Drought Monitor shows several counties are experiencing moderate to severe drought. Officials say the drought is hitting Lawrence, Pennington and Meade counties the hardest.

Melissa Smith is a hydrologist with the Rapid City National Weather Service. She says areas around the Black Hills are in real need of precipitation.

Drought Expected To Persist In Black Hills

Jun 7, 2016
U.S. Drought Portal

Temperatures are expected to remain above normal over the next few weeks throughout the central Missouri River Basin. In South Dakota, the South Eastern corner of the state is above normal precipitation. But elsewhere, like in the Black Hills, drought conditions are expected to persist.

‘15 Wetter Than ‘72 In Parts Of Black Hills

Oct 23, 2015
Charles Michael Ray

Pactola Dam could see the wettest year on record with over 29 inches of rain so far.  Right now 2015 is tracking a close second to the record year of 1962.   

Both years are higher than the 1972 precipitation, the year of the Black Hills Flood.    Weather officials say most of the rain in 1972 fell downstream from Pactola in one large burst.

2015 Breaks Both Dry And Wet Weather Records

Jun 25, 2015
Chynna Lockett

So far 2015, can be described as a year of both droughts and floods.

The year started in a drought.   The months of January through April were the driest on record in many parts of the state.    

But in May the weather took a turn with more rain, lots more rain.   

Melissa Smith is a Hydrologist with the National Weather Service.
She says in an average year, the Rapid City Regional Airport gets about 16 inches of precipitation.    

She says the rainfall over the last two months alone is approaching that number.

The United States Army Corps of Engineers is shifting its focus from drought conservation to flood risk control. Officials are slowing the amount of water that flows through a Yankton dam and keeping higher levels of storage in the state to try to prevent flooding downstream.

Recent thunderstorms have brought rain to states along the Missouri River, and it’s enough runoff for the US Army Corps of Engineers to increase attention to its purpose of managing flood risk. Jody Farhat is chief of the Missouri River Basin Water Management Division.

SDSU Extension

After the driest January through April on record, much of South Dakota received a soaking in May. But the latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows a large area of eastern South Dakota still with dry conditions. However, likely wetter conditions will continue to reduce precipitation deficits in those places as more rain in expected this week. SDSU Climate Field Specialist Laura Edwards joined Dakota Midday and discussed the wet May and what’s ahead for the summer.

Storms Dent Drought

May 13, 2015
Chynna Lockett / SDPB

State Climatologist Dennis Todey says while the recent weather system brought blizzards to the west side of the state and a tornado to the east, it also brought some drought relief. The first months of 2015 were the driest on state record, leading to widespread drought conditions. 

Todey says though spring rains and snows came later than expected, the precipitation is beneficial for soil moisture and streams.

Kealey Bultena SDPB

The lack of snow this past winter and limited rainfall this spring have created severe drought in the state for the first time in a year-and-a-half. The U.S. Drought Monitor Index released last Thursday shows drought conditions continue to worsen across South Dakota. More than 77 per cent of South Dakota is in moderate or severe drought,  an increase from 69 per cent from the previous week.

Farmers Face Possible Drought And Market Drop

Apr 27, 2015
Charles Michael Ray

Officials in the agriculture industry are eyeing a drop in the price of corn and other crops grown in South Dakota, on top of that the state as seen a record dry spell in the start of 2015.

The drought and lower commodity prices are making many farmers cautious about spending.   Ag is the number one industry in South Dakota and the slowdown is already having ripple effects on some sectors of the state economy.

Mighty Mo May Run Low

Apr 7, 2015

So far, 2015 has been warmer and dryer than normal across much of the Western United States and that’s having an impact on the Missouri River.

A report published last week in Science Advances predicts extended and severe drought for the American Southwest and central Great Plains. The analysis says the drought will be the worst in nearly 1,000 years with drying even more extreme than previously predicted. According to the study, the drought period is expected to begin between 2050 and 2100.

Drought Looking Up But Still Lingering

Jun 25, 2013

Hail, high winds, heavy rain, and severe thunderstorms may have brought damage to some areas of the state--but the storms are also helping parts of South Dakota recover from the drought.

Stan Boltz, with the Natural Resources Conservation Service says the drought outlook is faring better than it was at the start of this spring, but he says many areas have further to go.

Boltz says while recent rains have led to lush looking grassland west of the river large areas remain in drought despite the appearance on the surface.

Fire Forecasting

Apr 30, 2013

Darren Clabo, state fire meteorologist, discusses the current fire weather conditions and the potential for the coming months. April, May, June and July are typically the region's wettest months, when the area receives 50 percent of its annual average of 21 inches precipitation. Although an improvement in drought conditions is predicted, Clabo is less than optimistic about the possibility of any significant drought relief.

Storm Dents Drought

Apr 11, 2013

As Sioux Falls chips its way out from under the layer of ice coating everything--West River residents are digging out from record setting snows.

The storm that crippled the state may have left behind some real inconveniences and even hardships.

But, SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray reports--it’s good news for the parts of the state suffering under severe and extreme drought.   

NRCS: Dust Storm Highlights Conservation Need

Mar 12, 2013

On Monday in Pierre the fire department responded to 911 calls reporting a prairie wildfire burning east of town.

But when fire crews arrived they didn’t find any flames, rather something else –SDPB’s Charles Michael Ray has more on today’s Dakota Digest.

If you’re a South Dakota resident–and you see what looks like a smoke plume rising off the prairie–your first inclination might be to hop in your pickup truck and go check it out.     That’s just what Rick Mallo did on Monday.