Governor Activates Emergency Drought Commission to Quench Dry Counties

In an executive order, Governor Mary Fallin has declared Jackson, Tillman, Greer, Harmon, and Texas counties to be in a state of extreme-to-exceptional drought. The declaration activates the Emergency Drought Commission and makes the counties eligible to receive aid from the Emergency Drought Relief Fund established last year by the legislature.

“These five counties have faced three years of unrelenting drought,” said Fallin. “It’s not just an inconvenience; for many in these communities it has caused real economic hardship.”

The Emergency Drought Commission is comprised of the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conservation Committee Mike Thralls, Secretary of Agriculture Jim Reese, and the Executive Director of the Oklahoma Water Resource Board J.D. Strong. It will be tasked with reviewing applications for assistance and presenting recommendations for funding to the governor.

“I welcome the opportunity to work with Secretary Reese and Executive Director Strong to provide relief to the Oklahoma communities struggling under drought conditions,” said Mike Thralls.

The Emergency Drought Relief Fund is available to eligible farmers, ranchers, and landowners on a cost-share basis, and to communities, rural water districts, and fire departments as grants and loans.

In a news release by the Oklahoma Association of Conservation Districts, OACD President Kim Farber said, “We are very happy that Governor Fallin has taken this action to help the people and communities in these areas and we are fully in support of her action to access these funds.”

The Conservation Commission will work with the five conservation districts to assemble an application package for review by the Emergency Drought Commission.

View the Governor’s press release