Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: March 5, 2013
Sen. Ron Justice
Senate approves Emergency Drought Protection Special Fund
A measure to provide financial assistance to Oklahoma’s agricultural
community during droughts passed the Senate unanimously Tuesday.
Senate Bill 996 would create the Emergency Drought Protection Special
Fund. Sen. Ron Justice, author of the legislation, says the state’s
current drought is a tragic example of why the fund is needed.
“Oklahoma is in one of the worst droughts in state history.
Many farmers and ranchers have lost crops and been forced to sell
livestock because there simply isn’t enough water to maintain
them. Some have even stopped farming or ranching because they couldn’t
make ends meet and were near bankruptcy,” said Justice, R-Chickasha.
“Agriculture is the backbone of our state’s economy.
We must do all we can to protect this industry and this fund is
one way we can do that.”
The Oklahoma Conservation Commission would maintain the fund which
would consist of certain funds appropriated to it. Monies from the
fund could only be spent when the Governor declared a drought emergency
The Vice-Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee noted that current
state and federal emergency funds are not enough to help with drought
“There are some state and federal emergency funds available
to help farmers and ranchers but those funds aren’t available
for all drought-related situations, and in many cases there just
aren’t enough funds available to help everyone,” said
Justice, Vice-Chair of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “This
fund would specifically help Oklahoma’s farmers and ranchers
get the immediate financial assistance they need to sustain their
crops and livestock during extreme drought conditions.”
The fund could be used for drought response activities including,
among others, pond clean out and construction, water conservation
methods in production agriculture, providing water for livestock,
rural fire suppression activities as directed by the Oklahoma Department
of Agriculture, red cedar eradication, drought-related soil conservation
practices, and any other drought response activities identified
by the Governor.
All fund expenditures would be approved by the Commission with preference
given to funding activities that do not receive other legislative
SB 996 now moves to the House for further consideration.
For more information, contact:
Sen. Justice: (405) 521-5537