Governor Kevin Stitt Delivers Drought Relief to FarmersTue, 13 Sep 2022 08:46:21 CDT
Today, Governor Kevin Stitt issued an executive order to deliver drought relief to farmers in western Oklahoma, and other parts of the state hit hard by the current drought conditions.
Since mid summer- we have heard lots of talk from the ag community for the need for the state of Oklahoma to issue a Drought Declaration. That happened on Monday afternoon as Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt cited the current and persistent drought in all 77 counties (close to half of Oklahoma remains in extreme drought or worse- based on the Drought Monitor) and announced that he was invoking state law to establish an Emergency Drought Commission.
This is authority that has actually been in place since the last major drought that Oklahoma had to deal with- but there has never been money available for the Commission to allocate. That changed inn the most recent State Legislative Session when $3 million was earmarked for this Commission if drought conditions warranted it.
The Commission will consist of State Secretary of Ag Blayne Arthur, Oklahoma Conservation Commission Exec Trey Lam and the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, Julie Cunningham.
The Executive Order dictates that the Secretary of Ag will be the Chair- and we communicated with Secretary Arthur Monday evening and she tells us that she intends that the Commission "will meet as soon as possible so that we can get the funds out the door."
Part of the process will be to get proposals from the country- and the executive order says that funds "must be expended solely to relieve drought conditions."
“I will always do everything in my power to support Oklahoma’s great farmers and ranchers who work hard every day to feed our state and our nation,” said Gov. Stitt. “Whether it’s inflation or drought conditions, our agriculture producers have been dealing with some tough challenges this year so I am glad that with the help of the legislature we can help provide this relief.”
“I am always incredibly appreciative of the Governor’s support of Oklahoma farmers and ranchers. Oklahoma agriculture producers have seen extreme drought conditions throughout this year and livestock producers in particular are struggling with lack of pasture, hay and water,” Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur. “I look forward to working with the Emergency Drought Commission to allocate funds that will provide long term solutions to farmers and ranchers to help mitigate the impact of drought now and into the future.”
Read Governor Stitt’s executive order here
Organizations representing various sectors of Oklahoma’s ag industry have released the following joint statement showing their appreciation for Governor Stitt’s issuance of Executive Order 2022-23 delivering drought relief.
“Farmers and ranchers across Oklahoma appreciate the Governor’s support as the severe drought continues and the weather makes raising livestock and producing crops increasingly challenging. This declaration will open doors to additional support that will help ag producers dealing with lack of rain now and in the future.”
(groups include the Oklahoma Pork Council, Oklahoma Farm Bureau, Oklahoma Cotton Council, AFR, OCA, The Poultry Federation, OACC, OARA, Oklahoma Wheat Growers, and the Oklahoma Grain and Seed Association)
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