Early frost makes Brookings County ask for help

Shayla Waugh

Shayla Waugh

Ranchers in Brookings County are waiting to hear whether they will get agriculture disaster aid from the United State Department of Agriculture.

No official deadline is available as to when the Department of Agriculture will reach a decision, said Stephanie Vogal, a secretary with the Brookings County Commission and Personnel office.

The disaster declaration was in response to the August frost that took a toll on local crops, said state climatologist Dennis Todey.

Todey said that Brookings County experienced two frost events this fall, one damaging and one non-damaging. The first frost occurred on Aug. 21, which caused northern Brookings County to have widespread damage. The second frost was on Oct. 2, which is average for the area.

“I don’t feel that the county is in a state of agricultural disaster,” Todey said. “The area did experience a reduced yield due to the early frost in August but the losses from that would be covered under crop insurance.”

The disaster resolution was originally approved unanimously at a Brookings County Commission meeting and was sent on to the governor’s office. After approval at the state level, the official declaration will now have to be made by the United States Department of Agriculture.

Crops most affected by the frost were soybeans and corn, according to a recent article in the Brookings Register. The drought-like conditions and cool summer temperatures only added to the overall problem.

This summer was the third coldest on record in various locations in the eastern portion of the state, Todey said.

If the declaration is passed, assistance will most likely be provided for ranchers who, unlike farmers, aren’t covered under crop insurance.