Letter: Cold, hard facts

We’re not going to pull magic from a hat, we’re not going to make assumptions about people we don’t know nor will we attempt to pull the wool over your eyes. You deserve some facts and after hours of research and multiple conversations, here are a few important ones:

Fact #1: Most importantly, the Bowman Radar will not be discontinued if the Weather Modification program were to be voted out. The Bowman Radar is funded by Bowman County and seven surrounding counties for eight months out of the year. The Weather Modification program pays a total of $14,000 for the other four months. The Bowman Radar has proved that its 24/7, 12 month coverage to be such a valuable asset to our county and surrounding areas that the additional funding needed would be unquestionably met.

Fact #2: Bowman County’s cost of being enrolled in the Weather Modification program last year was a total of $233,000. The State participated in 50 percent of that amount.  Bowman County has approved a budget of $93,000 for this program next year which is equivalent to 3.47 mills.  Remember, this is for a program that operates for 90 days.

Fact #3: In the state of ND, at the peak there were 17 out of 52 counties enrolled in the Weather Modification program.  We are down to five.  Burke County is currently in a four-year trial period. Montana and South Dakota have both voted out Weather Modification entirely.

One point we would like to address is in regards to the reduced crop hail insurance premiums.  In prior letters it was stated that crop hail insurance premiums in Bowman County were cut nearly 50 percent due to the Weather Modification program. The fact is, Bowman County’s crop hail insurance premiums have dropped nearly 50 percent but so has nearly every county across North Dakota regardless of whether or not they were enrolled in Weather Modification.  Unfortunately, Bowman County is still ranked the highest in crop hail insurance premiums. There are multiple contributing factors that insurance companies use to derive their insurance premiums.  The data gathered by the Weather Modification program is not used in determining rates as the insurance companies don’t even ask for them. Rather the major driving force is usage – meaning the number of insured acres within a township.  For the record, premiums were stated in prior letters to be between $8 and $13 per acre for $100 acre coverage…we pay $18 per acre for that same coverage in Haley Township.  In conclusion, Weather Modification has very little if anything to do with the variation in premium rates.

As an Ag producer, our livelihood is dependent on the weather and we’d rather not have scientific theories try to win the battle against Mother Nature. In our opinion, that’s a battle that will never be won.

Our question to you: Don’t you think we could find a better use in our county for $93,000 than provide funding for a program that operates 90 days out of the year?

– John and Tessa Palczewski, Scranton