WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), today applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA), action in response to a directive from President Trump authorizing emergency grazing on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) lands located in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. According to an announcement today from USDA Acting Deputy Secretary Michael L. Young, USDA has authorized the emergency grazing of cattle by ranchers who are facing the ruination of their herds due to lack of sufficient grazing land. The authorization is pursuant to appropriate restrictions and conservation measures, which can be found in the Acting Deputy Secretary’s memorandum here.
“I applaud President Trump and the USDA for authorizing CRP land to be available for grazing,” Inhofe said. “Cattleman and ranchers in northwest Oklahoma have faced devastating losses over the past several weeks as a result of wildfires ravaging the area; this measure allows folks to move their herds to land that has not been badly burned. Across the state an estimated 630,00 acres of land have been burned resulting in a loss of more than 3,000 head of cattle. The fires have had and will continue to have a detrimental effect on the Oklahoma economy but today’s executive directive will allow these important industries to begin rebuilding.”
Charlie Swanson, president of the Oklahoma’s Cattlemen’s Association praised the directive:
"The Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association (OCA) is extremely grateful for the opening of CRP acres for emergency grazing. The wildfires have been devastating to family cattle ranchers in northwest Oklahoma. This common sense move by President Trump's administration recognizes the importance of conservation acres working in a cooperative beneficial manner with the families that raise our food. OCA also extends our appreciation to Sen. Inhofe's office for championing this important issue elevating especially since the wildfires of early March."
Tom Buchanan, president of the Oklahoma Farm Bureau also applauded the directive:
“The Oklahoma Farm Bureau has stood by the farmers, ranchers, and rural residents impacted by the devastating wildfires in Oklahoma. I am proud to say that President Trump is standing by them too with his decision to allow grazing on CRP lands during this emergency. While there is no silver bullet, this action will go a long way to providing the immediate relief and support Oklahomans need to recover and rebuild from this disaster.”
- Since the fires began March 6, farmers and ranchers have lost over 3000 head of cattle 1000 miles of fencing over thousands of acres of northwest Oklahoma.
- On March 6, Sens. Inhofe and Lankford (R-Okla.) released information on services available to provide assistance to Oklahomans.
- On March 7, Inhofe surveyed damage caused by the fires in his plane and afterwards held a press conference with Lankford regarding available federal resources.
- On March 20, Inhofe met with several hundred Oklahoma farmers and ranchers affected by the wildfires.