Trump orders USDA to open conservation lands to grazing for wildfire-devastated ranchers

President Donald Trump directed the department to open emergency grazing in certain lands in the Conservation Reserve Protection program in Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma following wildfires that started March 6.

The USDA estimates that about 1.6 million acres of grassland have been burned, and more than 15,000 have been killed in the blaze.

Thomas Phippin

Daily Caller News Foundation

The government will allow ranchers affected by devastating wildfires to graze livestock on protected grasslands for a limited time, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Tuesday.

President Donald Trump directed the department to open emergency grazing in certain lands in the Conservation Reserve Protection program in Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma following wildfires that started March 6.

The USDA estimates that about 1.6 million acres of grassland have been burned, and more than 15,000 have been killed in the blaze.

“Ranchers are facing devastating conditions and economic calamity because of these wildfires and they need some relief, or else they face the total loss of their herds in many cases,” Michael Young, deputy acting secretary of the USDA, said in a statement.

“These measures will allow them to salvage what remains of their cattle and return to the important business of feeding Americans and the rest of the world. I commend and thank President Trump for acting decisively in response to this dire situation,” Young said.

Ranchers will be allowed to graze on protected lands for a few months, but with some restrictions to protect the habitat of the lesser prairie chicken. Grazing will have to occur outside of the prairie chicken’s nesting season, and only if the Department of Agriculture determines that the ground will recover adequately.

The wildfires destroyed around $60 million worth of fencing and property damage in Oklahoma and Kansas, the Agriculture Department estimates. The “thousands of miles of fences expected to be a total loss” in Texas have not yet been surveyed.

“It’s right there at the top of natural disasters for our members over the years,” Todd Domer, vice president of communications at the Kansas Livestock Association, told Bloomberg News. “It’s going to take a long time for these folks to get back to any semblance of normal.”

Fox News photo

Free Range Report

5 comments

  • Bruce Hallock

    Isnt there anyone giving feed yet They should be there has to be several places that didnt get whiped.out

    • Ila

      When you have fires all over the state and it burns thousands of acres there’s not much left. Add the Kansas winds to the fires and you have a total disaster. You must not be from Kansas or you would understand the tinder box here.

  • Jim Kelsey

    We have lots of bales of hay collected with loaders waiting on site.We can not get trucks to haul and we have fuel money to help.Anyone knows of any trucks that would come to northeast missouri come on.

  • mikel

    several oklahoma feed suppliers have collected donated hay and make several runs to oklahoma panhandle to help free of charge to farmers and ranchers

  • Deborah

    I would think that it would be a good way to utilize the nation guard, to deliver feed and hay. I’m glad the president is recognizing their need. Ranchers and farmers get left behind too often.

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