Cloud seeding debate continues in Ward County

Published: Jun. 27, 2018 at 10:11 AM CDT
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The Ward County Weather Modification Board has narrowly approved a budget request for the hotly-debated cloud seeding program.

Board chairman Hank Bodmer says the board approved a budget request for the program of $197,500 by a vote of 3 to 2 at a meeting in Kenmare Tuesday.

Through the process of "cloud seeding," weather modification planes inject chemicals into storm clouds to break up hail, in an effort to reduce crop damage.

The program has caused controversy for both supporters and opponents.

Last year, Ward County farmers criticized the program, claiming the weather mod planes aggravated drought conditions by driving much-needed rain away from their fields.

Supporters took issue with the Ward County Commissioners cutting $100,000 from the board’s budget for 2018 during a slew of 11th-hour budget cuts.

The budget request now goes to the Ward County Commissioners. It’s unclear when the Commission will take it up.