BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota’s Industrial Commission has approved a low-interest loan program for ranchers dealing with drought.

The commission voted Wednesday to allow the state-owned Bank of North Dakota to offer the loans to help ranchers rebuild breeding stock and to pay for feed to sustain herd levels.

The commission oversees the bank. Its members are Gov. Doug Burgum, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and Agriculture Commissioner Doug Goehring.

Goehring says North Dakota cattle ranchers have sold off about 100,000 animals in recent months due to drought.

Bank president Bank president Eric Hardmeyer says he expects the loans to total about $25 million.

The latest U.S. Drought Monitor map shows 66 percent of North Dakota in some stage of drought.

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