As USDA declares 17 Nevada counties as drought disaster areas, a new drought-watcher is on the job in the state.
Douglas Boyle is Nevada's new state climatologist.
He oversees operations of the Nevada State Climate Office, a public-service department in the College of Science at the University of Nevada-Reno.
The state climatologist and Nevada Climate Office collect, maintain and interpret Nevada's climate and weather data information, publish a quarterly report and provide leadership on climatic hazards and drought planning in the state through work and consultation with the governor's office and state agencies.
Nevada in late July was given the USDA nod to consider 17 drought stricken counties disaster areas, qualifying farmers for low interest loans to compensate for losses.
The assist is considered a major move for livestock owners who are stricken hard by the Nevada drought.
Under the drought decision, USDA now grants producers in specified counties some flexibility in their qualification for various programs, such as the Conservation Reserve Program, Federal Crop Insurance, and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
Relief is also provided under the Wetlands Reserve Program operated by USDA.
Boyle, a member of the state's Drought Response Committee and Division of Water Resources and Division of Emergency Management in instrumental in providing vital climate data and advice to the Governor Brian Sandoval during the drought.
"Doug has a strong research record in the dynamics of climate, especially in the Great Basin," applauded Jeff Thompson, dean of the college. "I'm sure he'll be very engaging and collaborative with our partners and publics throughout the state."
Sandoval has triggered the state's Emergency Operations Center as an assistance hub to help farmers and ranchers hit hard by dry conditions in Nevada. The EOC and other state agencies are working with federal agencies to coordinate programs to assist producers.