Office of Governor Gary Locke
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - December 22, 2000
Contact: Governor's Communications Office, 360-902-4136
Locke requests disaster assistance for Klickitat ranchers, farmersOLYMPIA - Gov. Gary Locke today asked Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman to declare an agriculture disaster area in Klickitat County because of damages resulting from drought and wildfire losses in the past year.
"Klickitat ranchers and farmers have experienced a 50 percent loss of available pasture for livestock this year," said Locke. The county lost 22,378 acres in summer wildfires and monthly rainfall has been between 65 and 75 percent below normal since April.
Besides a lack of winter feed for livestock, the drought and fire damages likely will reduce the residue to start next year's grass crop, creating the potential of wind and erosion problems next spring, Locke added.
The declaration could provide emergency low-interest Farm Service Agency loans to cover production and farm property losses to farmers and ranchers in the county.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture currently is reviewing a disaster farm aid request that Locke submitted to Secretary Glickman on Nov. 3 to address the loss of rangelands and fencing due to wildfires between July 14 and Aug. 14.