In response to a directive from President Donald Trump, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has authorized emergency assistance to be granted to ranchers in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas whose estates were damaged by a rash of recent wildfires they dubbed “our Hurricane Katrina.”
“Ranchers are facing devastating conditions and economic calamity because of these wildfires and they need some relief, or else they face the total loss of their herds in many cases,” acting Deputy Secretary Michael Young announced in a statement Tuesday.
“These measures will allow them to salvage what remains of their cattle and return to the important business of feeding Americans and the rest of the world,” he added. “I commend and thank President Trump for acting decisively in response to this dire situation.”
According to the agency, the wildfires burned 630,000 acres in Kansas, 550,000 acres in Texas, and 390,000 acres in Oklahoma. The fires killed thousands of cattle and swine and cost millions in damages.
To assist the ranchers, the USDA has permitted them to graze their livestock on protected federal Conservation Reserve Program grasslands. As noted by the CRP, the program provides an annual stipend to ranchers who “agree to remove environmentally sensitive land from agricultural production and plant species that will improve environmental health and quality.”
The ranchers affected by the wildfires will be permitted to utilize these lands for a few months but some with restrictions in place to protect to protect the local vegetation and wildlife.
No state wants to be in a position of seeking emergency relief from the federal government, of course. And the response to Trump’s directive thus far has been a mixture of appreciation and worry.
“More than a million acres of prime grazing land has been reduced to ash, so we are especially grateful that President Trump and USDA Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Young have taken this first action to help farmers and ranchers in this time of extreme need,” American Farm Bureau Federation president announced in a statement Tuesday.
“We know ranchers who have lost almost everything they had, and it’s only April. Summer is yet to come.”
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H/T The Daily Caller