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Environment, Energy and Transportation

U.S.D.A. Announces Drought Relief For Klamath Basin

An OPB file photo of the drought-parched Klamath Basin of Oregon and California.
OPB
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An OPB file photo of the drought-parched Klamath Basin of Oregon and California.

The drought in the Klamath Basin has been deepening for several years now, putting farmers and ranchers in a bind. The feds have set aside almost 2 million dollars to help.

The Klamath Basin is facing what could be the driest year on record. Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the availability of $1.8 million for drought relief.

Laura Hall is with the Farm Service Agency, a part of the U.S.D.A. She says she’s confident the funding will help.

“People are struggling," said Hall. "And I know this won’t fix everything, but I am hopeful that it will help people from having to sell off entire herds, or not be able to keep farming."

The funding is earmarked specifically for the Klamath Basin, which has been hit with drought for years.

Hall says because last year’s drought was so bad, it’s especially important to offer resources now.

“Our intent is and always will be to keep people afloat," Hall said. "We are not a full recovery agency. What we would like to see is people being able to make it to the next year. I do think it works.”

Some assistance programs include payments for people who had their water completely shut off, as well as funding for a handful of conservation programs. It will also cover things like a Livestock Forage Program, which gives funding to growers who suffered grazing losses, as well as a water hauling program to help offset those costs.

Applications for drought assistance are due by June 16 and can be found online at farmers.gov.