Saying Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers have endured "about every form of bad weather imaginable” in the past 10 months, Gov. Brad Henry is seeking federal aid. In a letter sent to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak, the governor said ongoing drought conditions combined with floods, hail, fire, high winds and freezing temperatures have caused serious damage and losses to Oklahoma’s agriculture and ranching industries.
Significant lossesHe noted in his letter 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 losses, as well. "Our farmers and ranchers endured about every form of bad weather imaginable last year, and their crops and livestock suffered accordingly,” the governor wrote. "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 Farm Service Agency be authorized to complete damage assessment reports on all Oklahoma counties. The period of extreme weather in the state was from Sept. 1 to June 30. If the disaster declaration is approved, Oklahoma farmers and ranchers will be eligible for low- interest loans.