Cimarron County, Checking Drought Damage

Oklahoma Ag Secretary Terry Peach, left, talks to Cimarron County rancher/businessman John Schumacher, at Pup’s Place Resturant last Wednesday. Peach spoke to and fielded questions from ranchers, farmers and business people concerned about the local drought.

by Riannon Toon

Correspondent,

The Boise City News

State of Oklahoma Secretary of Agriculture Terry Peach, made a visit to Cimarron County this past week to see for himself how the drought is affecting the county. The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture works with all farmers and ranchers on agricultural programs for the state of Oklahoma . The purpose of his visit was to hear the concerns of farmers, ranchers, and the community about the drought conditions. He went to a local resturant, Pup’s Place and spoke to several concerned individuals. Those attending participated by asking him questions and he did his best to answer them. Mr. Peach stated that some of the programs that could be available are emergency loans and the possibility of deferred interest on cattle sold due to the drought conditions.

At left Secretary Peach talks to Riannon Toon, a teen correspondent from The Boise City News.

When asked what he thought could be done to help our area Terry said, “The State of Oklahoma doesn’t have funds for agricultural disaster programs. So they (local farmers and ranchers) will have to continue to ask our U.S. Congressman, Frank Lucas, and our U.S. Senators for Federal drought funding”. When asked what others could do to help us get help, he replied, “Just continue to bring this to the attention of our elected officials”.

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One of the most frequent questions people asked was: “How long is it going to take to get some help out here?” Paul Toon of the Farm Service Agency answered, “Once the county is included in a disaster declaration, the declaration would enable farmers and ranchers to be eligible for emergency loans. This is the first step in possibly getting future disaster programs for the county”.

After the meeting Secretary Peach toured the county with Natural Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS), the Cimarron County Conservation District (CCCD), the Farm Service Agency (FSA) and a Japanese news crew.

The Japanese news crew was visiting the county to film a documentary of drought conditions in the Dust Bowl Area. The news crew consisted of three members, the reporter, camera man, and interviewer.

The news crew was able to see things that are not considered common in their native Japan such as large pivot sprinkler systems, large scale flood irrigation, and windmills used for watering cattle. The tour stops included various farm and grass land fields. The farm fields visited showed the wide range of crop land conditions present in the county, from the irrigated fields that were watered and green, wheat fields that the seed had barely sprouted due to drought conditions, and fields that the crop had not sprouted and the soil was blowing away. The grass land fields that were visited were not yet green, and was still brown and dormant with very little to no new growth.

Secretary Peach and the news crew were surprised by the extremely dry conditions in Cimarron County. The tour also went to Lake Carl Etling to show the tour members how the drought conditions were affecting the lake water level.

At the end of the tour the news crew interviewed officials from the Natural Resource and Conservation Service (NRCS), the Cimarron County Conservation District (CCCD), the Farm Service Agency (FSA). The news crew said that this documentary would air later in the year on Japanese television and on their web site.

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