Gov. Henry Announces Help For Farmers, Ranchers Hurt By Drought

Wednesday, December 29th 2010, 12:26 pm
By: News 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Gov. Brad Henry announced Wednesday that farmers and ranchers in 72 Oklahoma Counties who suffered damage because of the recent drought will receive federal aid.

In the last 12 months, agricultural interests in Oklahoma have been damaged by lack of rain, extreme heat and high winds. In a letter to the governor, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said assessments indicated there were sufficient losses to merit a primary disaster declaration in 58 counties. Under federal regulations, an additional 14 counties also qualified for aid.

Gov. Henry had requested a disaster declaration for all 77 counties in Oklahoma.

"We had hoped to earn a statewide disaster declaration, but this designation will cover most of the hardest hit areas," said Gov. Henry. "Our farmers and ranchers endured some very tough weather over the last year and they need all the help they can get. This declaration won't address all of their needs, but it is a step in the right direction."

Oklahoma farmers and ranchers in the qualifying 72 counties are now eligible for low-interest loans to address losses caused by the extreme weather conditions.

The only counties that will not receive aid under the federal designation are Craig, Kay, Nowata, Ottawa and Washington counties. Federal authorities said losses in those counties did not meet the threshold necessary to earn a disaster declaration.