South Dakota Senator John Thune wants to improve the accuracy of the U.S. drought monitor. A new bill, Improved Soil Moisture and Precipitation Monitoring Act of 2018, would give Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue the ability to increase monitoring stations, require USDA to develop standards to integrate data from citizen scientists and require USDA agencies to use consistent precipitation monitoring data and drought assessment. Thune says in the past, there’s been concern the drought monitor classified some extremely dry areas not dry enough for ranchers to be eligible for Livestock Forage Program assistance. The drought monitor is used to determine grazing disaster assistance through the Farm Service Agency.
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