Emergency Drought Commission announces additional $5 million in Emergency Drought Cost-Share Funding
Today, the Emergency Drought Commission met and directed an additional $5 million be added to the Emergency Drought Cost-Share program.
This is in addition to the current $3 million in emergency drought cost-share funds already being made available to all 77 Oklahoma counties via distribution by local Conservation Districts. Monday’s actions are contingent on approval by Governor Kevin Stitt.
The significant changes made on Monday to the current program 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.
The Emergency Drought Commission consists of Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Blayne Arthur, Oklahoma Water Resources Board Director Julie Cunningham and Oklahoma Conservation Commission Executive Director Trey Lam.
“The Emergency Drought Commission took another step to assist livestock producers in Oklahoma,” Lam said. “The additional $5 million allocated to Conservation Districts will continue to be focused on water resources. Districts are currently taking applications and ranking them for funding. Once the applications are in, the Drought Commission will be better informed as to the total statewide needs and whether additional allocations need to be made for specific geographic areas or practices. I anticipate that this is only a step in a series of funding allocations. One stipulation with this additional funding is that it be eligible for producers who have already cleaned out ponds or installed new rural water taps. I also want to encourage all livestock owners to contact their local USDA Farm Service Agency office to apply for assistance with grazing losses, along with hay and water transportation assistance. Federal funds are available to help cover these losses and expenses.”
Those projects that are eligible in the Cost-Share program include: water well drilling, pumping facilities, pipeline, pasture tap, watering facilities, heavy use area protection, cover crop planting, forage and biomass planting (excluding Bermuda grass) and pond clean out.
“We are thankful for the $20 million in additional funds appropriated to the Emergency Drought Commission by the legislature and approved by Governor Stitt,” said Secretary Arthur, the Emergency Drought Commission Chair. “As devastating effects of the current drought are ongoing, the commission will continue meeting to strategically allocate funds in a way that both addresses the immediate needs of producers across the state while also supporting sustainable solutions which will assist us in combating similar crises in the future.”
The latest U.S. Drought Monitor Report shows 100 percent of Oklahoma in some level of drought, including 99.66 percent in Severe to Exceptional Drought. More specifically, 85.65 is in Extreme to Exceptional Drought compared to only 2.87 percent just three months ago. The last time Oklahoma had a full 100 percent of the state in some form of drought was March 26, 2013, according to State Climatologist Gary McManus.
The Emergency Drought Commission will meet again in the upcoming weeks.
Following are more details on this program:
Size of program: Allocate a current total of about $103,000 to each County (not District) – hold back reserve to be allocated to Districts with greatest demand.
Cost share rate: Maximum 80%
Maximum payment: Not to exceed $7,500
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 Producers can contact their local Conservation District for more information on the program: To find your local Conservation District, please go to https://conservation.ok.gov/conservation-district-directory/