By Alan Sorensen
Hill County's Farm Services Agency Committee recognized the people who measure rainfall throughout the county for the National Weather Service.
The measurements were particularly crucial this year because of the draught the county experienced, along with most of the rest of the state.
"With the disaster programs, the official reporting stations have been utilized to verify the rainfall," FSA County Executive Director Mike Zook said in presenting plaques to the rain watchers. "It's for all the work they've done and how well they worked with FSA."
Rain watchers recognized by the County Committee were: Garnet Bergren Fort Assinniboine, Chuck Klunder Havre, Arnold Sorenson Kremlin (not present), Betty Flechsig Simpson, Dick Hansen Gildford, Georgia Chinadle Hingham, Merlin Wolery Rudyard.
Others who have worked with the Agency on an unofficial basis will also be recognized, Zook said.
The plaques were approved by the County Committee comprised of Murdy Rismon, Roger Lincoln and Tony Belcourt.
"Thank you," Lincoln said. "Because of you guys, we got our NAP areas and other disaster applications verified."
"Dollar wise in this county," Zook said, "we kicked out a little over $47 million last year, of which a little under $3 million was for disaster relief."
Zook jokingly said he even has a rain gauge on his property now, courtesy of his neighbors, students at Lincoln-McKinley Elementary School who want to measure rainfall. But his measurements won't be official and will have no effect on ag programs in the county. That, he said, is the work of the official rain watchers.
"We thank you and look forward to working with you in the future," Zook told the honorees.
Rismon said a new rain gauge will be up and running soon on Mark Peterson's farm north of Havre. It may have to be on line for five years before it can provide data for county agriculture purposes, though.
"We need five years of data to work out a normal rainfall," Zook said. "Also, we need to work out a snowfall conversion."
Zook told the rain watchers that he is pleased with their work and that there is no one better at determining the moisture content of snow than farmers.