Last year's drought devastated crops in South Dakota, Iowa and Minnesota, so this year farmers are staying ahead of the curve by purchasing irrigation permits—specifically in South Dakota.
Irrigation permits have soared in 2013 in South Dakota. So far, 279 permits have been approved and 121 more are pending. In 2012, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources approved 205 irrigation permits.
South Dakota DENR Engineer Ron Duvall said crop and land prices are partly what are drawing the increase in permits. Duvall says current crop prices and land prices are so good that farmers are using the irrigation permits to increase their crop yields and land values.
Duvall said he expects permits to scale back in the weeks ahead. He said the amount of permits will decrease as the drought eases and farmers become busier.