Federal Aid Sought for State Farmers

Citing extreme weather conditions in Oklahoma over the past 10 months, Gov. Brad Henry asks the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture to issue a federal disaster designation to assist Oklahoma farmers and ranchers.
If the disaster declaration is approved, Oklahoma farmers and ranchers will be eligible for low-interest loans to address losses caused by the extreme weather conditions.
In a letter delivered to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak earlier this month, the governor said ongoing drought conditions combined with floods, hail, fire, high winds and freezing temperatures to inflict serious damage and losses to Oklahoma’s agriculture and ranching industries. The letter noted that the state’s wheat harvest was expected to be far below normal, and that livestock loss caused by a forage deficit in hay and grazing caused significant damages as well.
“Our farmers and ranchers endured about every form of bad weather imaginable last year, and their crops and livestock suffered accordingly,” said Gov. Henry. “A federal declaration won’t address all of their losses, but it would be a step in the right direction.”
In his letter, the governor asked that the feds authorize the Farm Service Agency to complete damage assessment reports on all Oklahoma counties. The period of extreme weather was from Sept. 1, 2008, to June 30.

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