County Commissioners Considering Drought Designation

Photo by: ImperfectTommy / Edmond Meinfelder

Photo by: ImperfectTommy / Edmond Meinfelder

The eastern portion of Colorado is experiencing some level of drought, especially the southeast corner of the state. Chad Hart, Prowers County Executive Director of Farm Service Agency and Wilma Trujillo, Ph.D., Southeast Area CSU Extension Area Agronomist, addressed their concerns to the Prowers County Commissioners this past Thursday, May 5, requesting a resolution declaring a portion of Prowers County be placed under Drought Designation.

Hart said the conditions in the six county area run from D-2 to D-3, with only the southernmost portion of the county listed as D-3. Almost all of Baca County is D-3, in the Extreme Category. The next and final stage, D-4 is, considered ‘Exceptional’. The steps the commissioners may take would be to draft a disaster resolution which would be sent to the governor’s office. He, in turn, will ask the FSA state office for a county situation report. That information is compiled by the County Emergency Board which is forwarded to the governor. After review by his office, the information is sent to the federal USDA office for a disaster declaration. Hart said the designation will make emergency loans available to farmers and ranchers, as well as be entitled to various tax benefits should ranchers need to sell off their livestock due to the drought. Hart said the area is not at the stage it was almost ten years ago when ranchers began to unload their livestock at auction, due to increased feed costs.

In line with the dry conditions in the area, the commissioners provided clarification on how the recent fire ban re-enactment works. A TOTAL fire ban is in effect only during Red Flag Warning days, issued by the National Weather Service. Permit burning is allowed, but farmers need to contact Sheriff Jim Faull, who also serves as the County Fire Marshall. He coordinates with the commissioners and Stefan Warn, the County Fire Chief. However, the Fire Marshall can enact a total fire ban even if there is no Red Flag Warning posted. People who intend to burn off their fields must call in advance at 719-336-3977.

In other action, the commissioners considered approval of the appointment of five applicants to the Prowers County Historic Preservation Advisory Board: Kim Fournier, Norman Arends, Pat Palmer, Don Emick and Laura Hartshorn.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureCountyEconomyFeaturedThe Journal AlertWeather


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