Inhofe Meets with Farmers, Ranchers Affected by Wildfires in OK Panhandle

BUFFALO, OK—U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) today met with several hundred Oklahoma farmers and ranchers affected by wildfires in northwest Oklahoma after touring areas damaged by the fires in his twin engine plane. Joining Inhofe were U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) directors from Alfalfa, Woods Ellis, Harper and Beaver counties; Dr. Thomas Coon, vice president and dean and director of the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources; and Michael Kelsey, president of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association.

These wildfires have caused unprecedented amounts of damage throughout northwest Oklahoma, devastating the livelihoods of farmers and ranchers in the region,” Inhofe said. “Their impact was reflected in today’s crowd—the largest meeting of farmers and ranchers I have seen in the panhandle in my many years in the Senate.

“I want to thank the fire fighters, first responders and volunteers who have worked around the clock to contain the fires and help those affected. I am working hard to make sure Oklahomans have access to all of the resources and information through FEMA, USDA and the Natural Resources Conservation Service. Those who wish to donate food, water, hay and other necessities should reach out to The American Red Cross which has partnered with the Southern Baptist Men and the Salvation Army.”

Panhandle Meeting

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A list of government resources available to affected Oklahomans can be found here.

 Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association has set up a fire relief fund through the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation for the Northwestern Oklahoma Cattlemen affected by the recent wildfires. In addition, they have organized a number of points to drop-off donated hay and are working to organize those willing to donate their time or other needed supplies. For more information, please visit their website: http://www.okcattlemen.org/

The American Red Cross is also assisting residents who have lost their homes in the fires. The Northwest Oklahoma Chapter’s Woodward office can be reached at 580-256-3828. In addition, donations can be made online at:http://www.redcross.org

The Oklahoma Farm Bureau has partnered with Love’s Travel Stops and Farm Cred Associations of Oklahoma to fund relief for fire victims by providing gift cards for fuel to those transporting donated hay. If interested in donating, please contact the Oklahoma Farm Bureau office at 405-530-2681.

  BACKGROUND

  • 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.