Renee Jean, Williston Herald
North Dakota’s hay lottery will expand to include Montana and South Dakota, with each state to conduct its own drawing beginning in early September.
North Dakota Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring credited Ag Community Relief, a Michigan organization, and North Dakota State University for making the relief effort possible.
“We are pleased to open the hay lottery to producers in South Dakota and Montana experiencing drought and wildfire,” Goehring said. “Ag Community Relief, the Michigan organization arranging a large-scale hay donation convoy to North Dakota in mid-August, is fundraising and continues to seek donations and volunteers. We are so appreciative of their efforts. We are also grateful to NDSU for providing the space and staffing to store and distribute the donated hay.”
Greg Lardy, head of NDSU Animal Sciences Department, said the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station is ready to assist producers adversely affected by extreme drought or wildfires.
“We know livestock producers in this region are struggling to find adequate hay supplies for their livestock, and this program is one way we can help them,” he said.
Montana and South Dakota’s state agricultural directors were grateful to be included.
“Donations have been pouring in from throughout Montana to help folks affected by both drought and fire. These people are the unsung heroes of the disaster response and a reminder of how the worst of times can bring out the best in people,” Montana Department of Agriculture Director Ben Thomas said. “We are proud and grateful to join with Ag Community Relief and our friends in North and South Dakota to get more resources to those affected.”
South Dakota Secretary of Agriculture Mike Jaspers agreed.
“With much of South Dakota experiencing drought conditions, the hay lottery is a great resource for producers looking for additional feed for livestock,” he said. “I appreciate Ag Community Relief, all the producers providing hay and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture for making this program possible.”
People wishing to donate hay or provide trucking services can contact the North Dakota Department of Agriculture’s drought hotline at 701-425-8454 for details.
Hay will be distributed in semi-load lots, with the first drawing in early September. If there are additional donations after that date, more drawings will occur. The drawing has been divided into two age categories, 35 and under and 36 and up. Producers selected to receive hay must arrange their own transportation.
Producers in any of the three states who want to apply for the hay lottery can find an application for their state online at www.nd.gov/ndda. The deadline is Aug. 31.
To be eligible, a producer must be from a D2, D3, D4 or fire-affected county and own at least 25 animal unit equivalents of state-specific livestock. A list of eligible livestock and an explanation of equivalents is available on the relevant state’s application. The latest drought monitor information is online at http://droughtmonitor.unl.edu/.
Questions may be directed to 701-328-4764 or 844-642-4752.
Matt Schaller, president of Ag Community Relief, said the size of the area affected by the drought prompted the hay lottery approach.
“It’s just too hard to pick and choose who receives what hay we can bring,” he said. “This program will give everyone a little hope and let them know that farmers across America are thinking of them. We really hope to see hay come in from all over the Midwest to help those folks in their time of need.”