SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — The ripple effects of a drought in South Dakota where agriculture is the state’s number one industry are widespread.
The latest figures from the U.S. Drought Monitor put 80 percent of the state in some stage of drought, with 15 percent in extreme drought. Data shows that nearly every part of South Dakota is classified as “abnormally dry,” the Argus Leader reported .
Less money in agriculture results in less sales tax revenue to fund state and local governments. A sales tax hike last year forced South Dakota farmers to hold off on the kinds of large purchases that fill state coffers.
The drought also means potentially fewer birds for hunters and less tourism money for counties relying on it through the winter.
State climatologist Laura Edwards said that last week’s rains gave some relief, but that the first few weeks of August are looking drier and hotter than usual. She also said that although corn and soybean crops may recover somewhat, it has been too dry for too long for South Dakota to avoid damage.
“We know that there are some impacts already that will carry through the rest of the summer,” Edwards said.
Steve Halverson, a farmer near Kennebec, said he’s had less than six inches of rain this year. The average is 18 inches.
“In this part of the state, we’re used to it being a little drier, but this is something else,” he said.
Cattle breeder Peggy Bieber said she sees the farm community in the Midwest pulling together to get by, especially with states like Iowa and Minnesota faring well with agriculture this summer.
“When there was a big fire down in Kansas, we sent some of our hay down there,” she said. “That’s how the ag industry has always worked.”
Information from: Argus Leader, http://www.argusleader.com