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JanLee Rowlett, Deputy Commissioner
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Emergency Drought Commission Approves Cost-Share Program
OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — Drought relief is one step closer to being on its way to Oklahoma farmers and ranchers following the second meeting of the Emergency Drought Commission. Commissioners Blayne Arthur, Julie Cunningham and Trey Lam met Friday, September 30, 2022, and unanimously approved a program proposed by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission which will distribute the $3 million appropriated by the State Legislature and approved by Governor Stitt in House Bill 2959 to Oklahoma ag producers.
Pending final approval by the OCC, scheduled to meet Monday, October 3, 2022, emergency drought cost-share funds will be made available to all 77 Oklahoma counties to be distributed by local conservation districts. Projects included in the program are water well drilling, pumping facilities, pipeline, pasture tap, watering facilities, heavy use protection, cover crop planting, forage and biomass planting (excluding Bermuda grass), pond clean out, and hay transportation.
“The emergency drought cost-share program will allow these funds to be distributed in a way that allows for each district to use the funds to best address the needs of the farmers and ranchers in the local area,” said Blayne Arthur, Secretary of Agriculture and EDC Chair. “I am confident in the program and its ability to help Oklahoma producers now and into the future.”
The commissioners were encouraged by the $3 million investment in long-term water resiliency from the legislature and Governor Stitt, said Julie Cunningham, Oklahoma Water Resources Board Executive Director.
“We are committed to putting the funds to use as quickly as possible,” Cunningham said.
If the program is approved at the meeting on October 3, OCC district staff will be prepared to work diligently to ensure help arrives to those in need across the state.
“The Oklahoma Conservation Commission continues to be inspired by how our farmers and ranchers and their organizers have come together to mitigate the disastrous impacts of Oklahoma’s drought,” said Trey Lam, Oklahoma Conservation Commission Executive Director. “I appreciate the leadership of Secretary Arthur and Executive Director Cunningham in tackling these difficult issues.”
Following approval by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, more details will be provided regarding eligibility and the formal application process for producers to access the funds.