Gov. Polis Takes Action on Colorado Drought, Calls on USDA to Expedite Assistance for Farmers and Ranchers

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

DENVER - As Colorado is experiencing extreme drought conditions, and farmers and ranchers are facing significant challenges as a result, Gov. Polis is taking action by expanding Phase 2 activation of the Colorado Drought Mitigation and Response Plan for the state’s remaining 24 counties and is calling on the USDA to expedite disaster aid payments to support Colorado producers. 

In June, Governor Polis activated Phase 2 of the Drought Mitigation and Response Plan for 40 of Colorado’s 64 counties. Due to increased drought conditions, he decided to expand this to the remaining 24, which includes Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Clear Creek, Denver, Douglas, Gilpin, Grand, Jackson, Jefferson, Lake, Larimer, Logan, Moffat, Morgan, Park, Phillips, Rio Blanco, Routt, Sedgwick, Summit, Teller, and Weld. 

“Exceptional (D4) drought conditions returned to Colorado and continue to hold in Kiowa county; 50% of Colorado is currently experiencing extreme (D3) drought conditions; and 39% of the state is under severe (D2) drought (according to the Sept. 17th US Drought Monitor). As of the September 4th record, USDA drought disaster designations are active for 59 of 64 Colorado counties. Record breaking temperatures statewide are projected to persist over the next three months, meaning imminent relief is unlikely,” the Phase 2 activation Phase 2 activation letter reads.

The Governor also sent a letter to Secretary Perdue, encouraging the USDA to provide emergency relief for Colorado producers as a result of persistent drought conditions. “Colorado producers, in all four corners, continue to experience dire ecosystem conditions with depleted soil health, pest pressures, rangeland damage, and a heavy reliance on declining groundwater reserves,” the letter reads.