Despite snowfall, drought persists in KOTA Territory - KOTA Territory News

Despite snowfall, drought persists in KOTA Territory

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With snow falling all over the Black Hills, it may not seem like we're in much of a drought anymore.
 
But experts say, this moisture may be too little too late.

"A tornado comes and goes. It's very devastating. But a drought is day after day. It can be very emotionally trying," said Doug Pavel, a farmer and laborer at Finkbeiners Feed & Supply.
 
Day after day, Pavel works hard to make ends meet, even taking a second job at a Belle Fourche feed store.
 
"On our [farm] because it was so warm and dry, the grass never got a chance to start. We were behind all season," said Pavel.
 
While ranchers are happy to see snow on the ground, it will take more than a few inches to get past this year's drought.
 
"We need an inch of rain to start the ball rolling. Drought still staying with us through the early part of winter. Hopefully we can get some moisture like this but the outlook is not rosy for this time of year," said John Rickertson, Agronomy Field Specialist with the SDSU Extension.
 
But Wednesday's snowfall may be a mixed bag for ranchers.
 
"The snow will help fill the dams and ponds, give us some run off," said Rickertson.
 
"If the ground freezes, the moisture won't have a chance to soak in. So its a good and bad thing. If there's runoff, it might not replenishing the top soil," said Pavel.
 
But the snowfall is having one immediate side effect on the people in the Northern Hills.
 
"The attitude of everyone, seem to be a bit more chipper. Helps the morale of everyone around. We know its not going to be a huge amount of moisture but we pray to God it is moisture," said Matt Moore, Sales Manager at Finkbeiner Feed & Supply.

"The ag community is optimistic group but that optimism can be tried," said Pavel.

Experts say the drought looks likely to persist through the winter.

And it may take  two to three years to get grass, alfalfa and livestock levels back to normal.

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