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What is cloud seeding?

Cloud seeding is the process of spreading either dry ice, or more commonly, silver iodide aerosols, into the upper part of clouds to try to stimulate the precipitation process and form rain.

Since most rainfall starts through the growth of ice crystals from super-cooled cloud droplets (droplets colder than the freezing point) in the upper parts of clouds, the silver iodide particles are meant to encourage the growth of new ice particles.

County Involvement

Burke County joined the North Dakota Cloud Modification Project (NDCMP), along with Williams, Mountrail, McKenzie and Ward counties, this summer for the purpose of hail damage mitigation and rainfall enhancement; but mostly for hail suppression.

This is a state cost-share program. Burke County’s portion of the bill was $45,000 (2 mils from 2014 taxes) for 2015.

North Dakota
Cloud Seeding Statistics

According to a cloud seeding pamphlet by the Atmospheric Resource Board, ND State Water Commission the following statistics were provided:

* North Dakota has conducted cloud seeding operations annually since 1961.

*The NDCMP is the longest running aerial hail suppression project in the world.

* Cloud seeding produces an estimated 5-10% in additional rainfall for farmers and ranchers in western North Dakota’s project area.

*Cloud seeding studies in North Dakota indicate a 45% reduction in crop hail losses.

*2014 NDCMP rain enhancement and hail suppression operations cost only $.16/acre. Participating counties pay approximately 2/3 of the cost, while the state pays the remaining 1/3.


Well friends, yet another long held Dad duty has been quite literally kicked to the curb (or at least confined to the driveway).

For the most part, my parental taxi service sign has been flipped to “Off Duty” now that our son, Jackson, has managed to attain the legal right to operate a motor vehicle. He can now go where he must, when he must, and not have to endure NPR or Irish music while en route.

Previously, he was limited to training excursions in and around Lignite as a student of the “Grandma Joann PT Cruiser School of Swervology.”

As I look back, the road from there to here is littered with the vestiges of many such Dad duties I once was counted on to perform. All of which I cherished and miss, except of course, the clean-up of bodily discharges, great and small.

How such cute little people can produce and release such volumes of biohazard is truly a mystery. They’re like little dirty bombs with erratic and unreliable detonators. They should be rolled around in tightly secured 50 gallon drums instead of minimum security strollers…drums with a slot to slide the occasional balloon animal and Dilly Bar into and a few air holes punched in the lid, of course.

What have my dad duties dwindled too?
Providing unsolicited and unheeded advice?

Charitable donations of various amounts for unspecified items of interest (food, because he “wasn’t hungry” three minutes prior when we ate at home)?

Fuel for and general maintenance of his wheels of freedom (by “general” I mean anything that requires no mechanical know-how beyond that which can be “fixed” with a chainsaw and/or a hammer)?

I did get the opportunity to share some pent up fatherly wisdom with him recently while doing a bit of back-to-school clothes shopping a few weeks back. Life altering advice, such as how to decipher the sizing label on pants and dress shirts to achieve proper fit and socially acceptable appearance in the adult world.

I don’t pretend to know what is deemed “socially acceptable” apparel in the teenage world, nor do I have any intention of finding out. I do, however, reserve the parental right to point, laugh hardily and obtain photographic evidence for my grandkids to point and laugh hardily at…in the very, very distant future.

Such is the sorted fashion circle of life, and probably has been since the first angstful cave teenager shunned the wearing of the drab, but sensible, woolly mammoth loin cloth in favor of the more hip and trendy saber-toothed tiger tunic.

As I mourn the loss of yet another Dad duty I do look forward to whatever is needed of me in the future.

As a dad, that’s what I’m here for, that’s what I will always be here for.
I have no plans of signing up for the mission to mars or traipsing off to any far-flung places here on earth to find myself. I found myself when my children were born and have found being a dad suits me just fine…even at an ever increasing “on-call” status.

On that note, I’d like to send a “Happy Birthday” up Lignite way to the man who taught me how to be a dad, and remains on-call for us each and every day.

Thanks Dad.

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