County declared disaster area
June 17, 2021
Crook County has been designated a primary natural disaster area by the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to the ongoing drought conditions in this area. Along with those in 20 other counties in Wyoming, producers in this area are now eligible for emergency credit to assist in recovering from the disaster.
The county was automatically found to be eligible for this status because it was recorded by the U.S. Drought Monitor as having suffered from severe drought for eight or more consecutive weeks during the growing season.
Farm Service Agency loans can be used for recovery needs including replacement of essential items, including livestock; reorganization of a farming operation; or refinancing of certain debts. Loan applications are available through the agency’s website and are reviewed based on extent of loss, security available and repayment ability.
The application deadline for loans is November 19.
As of June 1, the U.S. Drought Monitor records the southwestern third of the county as being in a severe drought condition, with the remaining area listed as in moderate drought.
The University of Wyoming’s Water Resources Data System reports the precipitation seen in this county over the week of June 2 to 8 as less than 5% of the average between the years of 1991 and 2020. Snow water equivalent was also recorded at less than 5% of average on June 9.
Soil moisture percentile, which is an indicator of growing season conditions and considered to be at optimum between 10 and 18%, was recorded on June 8 at between 0 and 2% on the western edge of the county, 2 to 5% in the center portion and 5 to 10% on the eastern part, with a small sliver of area at 10 to 20% in the northeastern corner.
Governor Mark Gordon has meanwhile announced the launch of a website that will provide updates on drought conditions as well as resources and information for sectors impacted by drought, including tourism, recreation, municipalities and water utilities.
“Our goal in developing this resource is to make relevant and timely information available in a single location,” Gordon said in a press release. “This effort capitalizes on the collaborative partnerships already in place between state and federal agencies and allows us to better communicate program resources.”
Wyoming as a whole has been experiencing drought conditions since 2020 and this past winter’s average snowpack did not alleviate dry soil conditions that existed entering the winter. The state’s website can be found at drought.wyo.gov.