Henry seeks federal help for drought-stricken farms
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Gov. Brad Henry has asked for federal aide to help Oklahoma farmers hard hit by drought and severe weather.
In a June 6 letter, Henry asked U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns to grant a disaster designation for all 77 Oklahoma counties, making farmers eligible for low-interest loans through the USDA's Farm Services Agency.
Henry said the ``combination of extreme heat, dry weather, high winds and stressful moisture conditions has resulted in serious and extensive damage'' over the past 18 months.
``The magnitude of what our farmers and ranchers have been dealt is serious, and it warrants help from the USDA,'' he said.
Oklahoma is harvesting its smallest wheat crop in 50 years, an estimated 68 million bushels compared to the average harvest of 140 million bushels.
Data indicates Oklahoma is experiencing the third-driest period on record for the small-grain growing season of October through May, Henry said. Hay forages, livestock grazing lands and alfalfa are also facing serious troubles.