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Governor Laura Kelly Sends Letter Urging USDA Secretary for Additional Aid for Kansas Farmers, Ranchers

Governor Visits Wildfire Victims 12-29-21
Governor Visits Wildfire Victims 12-29-21

Governor Laura Kelly has announced her efforts to gain additional relief from the US Department of Agriculture for Kansas farmers and ranchers affected by last month's wildfires, including the 120,000-plus acre Four County Fire in Russell, Ellis, Osborne and Rooks Counties.

In her letter, Governor Kelly thanked Secretary Tom Vilsack for the aid that is currently being provided through programs administered by the USDA's Farm Service Agency and its Natural Resources Conservation Service. Also, Kelly shared her concern with the benefits and eligibility criteria of programs that would help with the relief efforts.

"We must continue to look for ways to assist farmers and ranchers recover what was lost so they can put this catastrophe behind them and get back on their feet," Governor Kelly said. "Eligibility and flexibility in these programs would go a long way for the Kansans who lost their grasslands, feed, livestock, and in some cases, their entire homes."

The Governor emphasized the need for Secretary Vilsack and the USDA to revisit the payment rate of the Livestock Indemnity Program, to better mirror the value and cost to replace cattle killed in the fires. She also encouraged the Secretary to look at the Emergency Conservation Program and increase the rate of the cost share agreement to adequately reflect the cost to replace fencing. The Governor suggested the Secretary empower the regional and local representatives, who have direct knowledge of the cost and availability of fencing materials, to approve modifications for the program.

See a copy of the letter here.

(Information and photo courtesy Office of the Governor.)