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dry field

3 pieces of good news about the drought

It’s still hot and dry, but there’s a glimmer of hope, some help on the way and a reminder that you’ve been through this before.

It’s hard to find some good news about the drought. But there is a drop or two.

• The latest U.S. Climate Prediction Center outlook says the odds favor above-average precipitation for August through October through much of the Dakotas. I don’t know if it will be enough to break the drought. “Above average” could be a mere pittance. The late summer and early fall can sometimes be pretty dry anyway. We need Black Elk, the legendary Oglala Lakota leader, to return. He said, “You see, I had been riding with the storm clouds, and had come to earth as rain, and it was drought that I had killed with the power that the six grandfathers gave me.”

• More people are noticing it’s dry out here. A group in Wisconsin says they are organizing to send hay to the Dakotas. That’s encouraging. Drought is a slow-motion crisis. Most people don’t see the impact until it is way too late to make a meaningful difference. It’s not like the Black Hills blizzard or the Kansas wildfires, which went viral on social media and resulted in a flood of much-appreciated aid.

• You’re up to this. You can hang on. You will get through it. “No cracked earth, no blistering sun, no burning wind, no grasshoppers are a permanent match for the indomitable spirit of American farmers and stockmen and their wives and children who have carried on through desperate days, and inspire us with their self-reliance, their tenacity and their courage,” said President Franklin Roosevelt, after a visit to South Dakota in the 1930s.

Gov. Dennis Daugaard, who is the source of the quote, says he agrees with President Roosevelt.

“Ultimately, it is the perseverance of South Dakotans that will pull us through. The drive to overcome has been instilled in us by our ancestors, and it is what carried us through droughts in our past.”

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