Ward County commissioners vote to bring weather modification into 2017 budget

MINOT, N.D. - Following a lengthy discussion with area farmers, Ward County Commissioners have changed their minds and voted to bring the weather modification back into the county budget for next year.

This program, which has run in Ward County since the 1970's, helps manipulate clouds to not only make it rain when needed, it also can suppress hail.

Many farmers from across the county came to the meeting and voiced their opinions.

Some said that the program benefits not only the farmers but also those who own property.

“It benefits anybody who has property whether it be crops and just because, you know, it's not perfect doesn't necessarily mean you pull the funds. The program's not perfect, there's still people that get hail damage but if you pull the funds it kind of stops the research part of it too so that they can't roll the program and improve the program,” said John Peach, farmer.

However, other farmers disagreed, saying that the program should not be funded and that mother nature should run its course.

“Let's just leave the weather alone and focus on the bigger issues that we can actually solve and not go back and forth like we are right now. There's many projects that are needed for the poor, the homeless, roads you name it. We can prove that they work, planes have been flying for 57 years and we don't have proof of anything,” said Berthold farmer Roger Neshem.

The commissioners voted 4 to 1, with John Fjeldahl as the only dissent.

With the program, county property taxes for a $200 home will go up just over $2.50.