Oregon Gets $100,000 For Rancher Wildfire Relief

Application period is open to file for assistance now.

Published on: Jul 16, 2013

Check with the Oregon Cattlemen's Association if you are seeking compensation for wildfire damage to your ranch.

A $100,000 fund is established to provide relief to those livestock operations impacted by 2012 fires which raged over more than a million Oregon acres.

Last July, Harney and Malheur counties were designated as state and federal disaster areas, creating an economic emergency due to drought and wildfires.

The Oregon Department of Agriculture requested that the Oregon Emergency Board provide funding to aid in recovery, and granted $50,000, which was matched by  the governor's Strategic Reserve Fund.

The OCA was designated the lead entity to facilitate distribution of the monies to ranchers.

Financial help for Oregon ranchers impacted by 2012 wildfires is now available via the Oregon Cattlemens Association.
Financial help for Oregon ranchers impacted by 2012 wildfires is now available via the Oregon Cattlemen's Association.

This year, drought has expanded to include many other counties in the state. "The assistance comes at a crucial time," says OCA President Curtis Martin, "with ranchers facing exponentially higher feed bills due to current drought conditions paired with previous wildfire impacts.

"While we know demand for wildfire assistance far exceeds supply, we feel privileged in the opportunity to provide the available aid with hopes of softening the blow enough to keep them in business."

A $30,000 share of the funding was allocated to the Eastern Oregon Agricultural Research Station to study wildfire prevention on Oregon ranges. A program has been developed that will disperse the remaining $70,000 to owners of damaged property.

"In addition to financial assistance, a significant need exists for research regarding long-term restoration of the rangelands that supports both wildlife  inhabitance and livestock production," says Kay Teisl, OCA executive director.

"Prevention measures in terms of fuel load management, rural fire district support, and enhanced communications are also critical to effectively avoiding such devastating events."

Applications are available by contacting OCA at (503) 361-8941 or oca@orcattle.com. Applications are also available from county livestock associations, local Farm Service Agency offices, at Soil and Water Conservation District outlets, and through Oregon State University Extension Service facilities.