Oklahoma Emergency Drought Commission
Oklahoma’s Emergency Drought Commission, enabled through passage of Enrolled House Bill 1923 in 2013, provides funding for drought mitigation and related projects in Oklahoma in conjunction with a formal gubernatorial drought declaration. The Emergency Drought Commission consists of the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission, the Secretary of Agriculture and the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Water Resources Board.
The Emergency Drought Commission shall determine the expenditures to be made from the Emergency Drought Relief Fund, totaling up to three million dollars as appropriated by House Bill 2959, and shall determine the appropriate agency to expend the funds. The activities of the Emergency Drought Commission shall continue until it is determined by the Governor that a drought emergency no longer exists in the state. Specific assistance projects are limited to the affected counties and must be approved by the Oklahoma Emergency Drought Commission. The Emergency Drought Commission also serves as a permanent drought advisory panel to the Governor and appropriate state agencies.
The Emergency Drought Commission shall have the authority to consider requests for use of Emergency Drought Relief Funds from proposed projects located, or operating, within one, or more, of Oklahoma’s 77 counties, in accordance with EO 2022-23.
September 21, 2022 | 10:00 a.m. | Agenda
Emergency Cost-Share Program
- On September 30, 2022, Emergency Drought Commissioners Blayne Arthur, Julie Cunningham and Trey Lam met and unanimously approved a program proposed by the Oklahoma Conservation Commission to distribute the $3 million appropriated by the State Legislature and approved by Governor Stitt in House Bill 2959 to Oklahoma ag producers. The program was then passed on to the Oklahoma Conservation Commission for final approval.
- On October 3, 2022, in their regular meeting, commissioners of the Oklahoma Conservation Commission unanimously approved the program, detailing how emergency drought funds will be made available to all 77 Oklahoma counties via a cost-share program and distributed by local Conservation Districts.
- On October 4, 2022, Governor Kevin Stitt approved $20 million in additional funds be appropriated to the Emergency Drought Commission as presented by the legislature in the special legislative session.
- On October 17, 2022, significant changes were made to the program by the Emergency Drought Commission in their third meeting, and an additional $5 million was added to the cost-share program. The changes include:
- Making the Emergency Drought Cost-Share program available retroactively for pond clean out and new rural water tap projects started on or after June 11, 2022.
- Allowing producers of all livestock used to financially support a family to apply.
- Increasing maximum payments for pond clean outs to $2,500 for small sized ponds, $5,000 for medium sized ponds and $7,500 for large sized ponds.
- Removing the requirement for drought condition certification for individual properties.
- On November 9, 2022, changes were made to the program by the Emergency Drought Commission and an additional $12 million was directed to Emergency Drought Cost-Share Funding.
- Directing conservation districts to accept applications for all approved practices.
- Clarifying cover crops planted for the purpose of erosion control are eligible for the program.
- Announcing all practices included in the Emergency Drought Cost-Share Program may be funded retroactively to June 11, 2022, pending appropriate documentation provided by the applicant.
- Opening a statewide application period that is set to close on November 28, 2022.
- Allowing applications submitted prior to November 9, 2022, that have not received funding to be eligible for the updated program.
- The remaining $4.5 million in funds appropriated to the Emergency Drought Commission will be allocated strategically as the commission continues to meet.
- On January 5, 2023, the Emergency Drought Commission directed all remaining funds allocated to the Commission.
- The Commission determined any funds unused and returned by the local conservation districts should be redirected with the remaining funds.
- The funding directed by the Commission totals approximately $5 million. Those funds will be distributed through the existing Cost-Share Program.
- The Oklahoma Conservation Commission will disperse the remaining funds to conservation districts based on the number of unfunded applications in each local district.
- No new applications are being accepted at this time.
- On May 8, 2023, the Emergency Drought Commission provided further guidance to producers who have been approved for pond cleanout through the Emergency Cost-Share Program.
- Approved producers who have not completed their pond cleanout by June 1, 2023, will be contacted by their local conservation district to alert them that they have 45 days to complete the project.
- Pond cleanout projects that require water to be pumped out of the pond are allowed.
- On August 23, 2023, the Emergency Drought Commission voted to reinstate Pond Clean Out Cost-Share participants whose applications were canceled due to not completing their projects by July 15. The Commission also tasked the Oklahoma Conservation Commission with gathering the applicants that will be reinstated. The Commission has asked the OCC to gather questions and concerns from local conservation districts to help with streamlining the process for applicants. Additionally, two new members joined the Emergency Drought Commission: Pete Nichols from Washita County and Josh Emerson from McIntosh County.
Producers interested in applying are encouraged to contact their local conservation district for more information. Contact information for each district can be found here.
Size of program: $259,740 allocated to each County (not District)– remainder reserved for areas with higher levels of request
Cost share rate: Maximum 80%
Maximum payment: Not to exceed $7,500
Projected Timeline of Program: Guidelines were approved in the Oct. 3, 2022 Conservation Commission meeting initiating the start of the program.
Conservation Districts receive program guidelines and training Oct. 3-4, 2022 and then will begin implementation.
Allocation Period: Oct. 3 – Dec. 2, 2022
- Review/Rank Applications – Select Applicants – 60 days
- Establish Completion Deadline and Develop Extension Protocol
Implement Practices: Begins no later than Dec. 2, 2022. Program will be completed by Dec. 2, 2023.
Reallocate any remaining funds to Districts with highest demand no later than Dec. 12, 2022.
Drought creates challenging circumstances for Oklahoma farmers and ranchers to continue to produce food and fuel. Various resources exist that may be helpful to agricultural producers dealing with drought.
USDA Oklahoma Farm Service Agency
The Oklahoma Farm Service Agency state office is headquartered in Stillwater, Oklahoma. Fifty-nine County Offices are positioned throughout the state to serve local producers. TO APPLY FOR ANY AND ALL PROGRAMS, CONTACT YOUR LOCAL FSA OFFICE. FIND YOUR LOCAL OFFICE AT HERE.
Livestock Forage Program
The Livestock Forage Disaster Program (LFP) provides compensation to eligible livestock producers who have suffered grazing losses for covered livestock on land that is native or improved pastureland with permanent vegetative cover or is planted specifically for grazing.
Eligibility for LFP is based on a county’s rating on the U.S. Drought Monitor. A county must have been considered in D2 (severe drought) status for eight consecutive weeks on the U.S. Drought Monitor or must have hit D3 (extreme drought) or D4 (exceptional drought) on the
U.S. Drought Monitor to be eligible.
A map and list of eligible counties and pasture losses for LFP may be found on the FSA website. This database is updated weekly on Thursdays following posting of the U.S. Drought Monitor.
EMERGENCY CONSERVATION RESERVE PROGRAM HAYING AND GRAZING
Emergency haying and grazing of Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres may be authorized under certain conditions to provide emergency relief to livestock producers in times of severe drought or a similar natural disaster.
Approval for the emergency will be based upon drought severity as determined by the U.S. Drought Monitor. Eligible counties are posted each week at here following the Thursday drought monitor updates. Producers should contact their local FSA county office for eligible CRP practices.
EMERGENCY LIVESTOCK ASSISTANCE PROGRAM
Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honey Bees and Farm-Raised Fish Program funds are available to assist in covering the cost to transport livestock to forage and grazing acres and the cost of hauling feed and water for livestock during drought.
A county must have been considered in D2 status for eight consecutive weeks on the U.S. Drought Monitor or must have hit D3 or D4 on the U.S. Drought Monitor.
An online tool for calculating above normal cost and estimating payments is available here.
ODAFF Hay Provider Directory
Producers can easily find hay for sale by utilizing the ODAFF Hay Provider Directory. The hay available is listed by county and has contact information for the sellers, including phone numbers and addresses. The type of hay offered is also included. The directory is regularly updated and producers can list their hay by utilizing the “Oklahoma Hay Directory Information” form listed on the web page. To view the directory, please visit this webpage.
On October 11, 2022, Governor Kevin Stitt issued an executive order temporarily suspending the regulations for vehicles transporting bales of hay in the state, adjusting the size and weight for commercial hay loads extending the width limit from 11′ to 12′.
Drought Relief Business Directory
Water well drillers, water tank suppliers, and other businesses offering drought relief services are encouraged to share their information here to be added to a statewide directory of businesses those facing the challenges of drought may contact. Submitting the forms does not guarantee a spot on the list.