Governor Gordon to Request USDA Disaster Designation for Wyoming
Written by Andrew-Rossi on February 21, 2023
As an unusually intense winter continues, Governor Gordon wants to ensure Wyoming agriculture producers – mainly ranchers – have access to assistance from the U.S.D.A. to cover their losses in Winter 2022-23.
As Wyoming winds its way thru Winter 2022-23, there has been abundant snow and subzero temperatures. While this is good news in some respects- like the state’s snowpack – the weather is making survival difficult for plants and animals, particularly those cultivated by agriculture producers.
Now, with another intense winter storm on the way, Governor Mark Gordon and the Wyoming Department of Agriculture are urging Wyoming’s livestock producers to take actions to prepare for upcoming winter weather.
Preparing for winter storms and caring for livestock during those storms is critical. However, these actions should only be taken if they can be accomplished safely.
The 2022-23 winter has been particularly hard for Wyoming’s sheep and cattle producers due to a combination of factors.
The winter started exceptionally early, resulting in significant snow levels and considerable drifting. In addition, ongoing windy conditions and drifting snow hamper efforts to reach livestock. Mortality has been high thus far and is expected to increase well into the spring due to this harsh winter.
Meanwhile, Wyoming Game and Fish authorized emergency elk feedings as they have been raiding livestock haystacks and feedlines. This is another problem for ranchers, and the comingling of livestock and wildlife increases the spread of disease.
“We are well aware of the cumulative impacts this winter has brought to our ag producers, “Governor Gordon said. “The State of Wyoming is already at work with partners, including the United States Department of Agriculture and Farm Service Agency, to determine losses, the period of impact, and the geographic scale of impact due to these extraordinary conditions.”
This information, together with information from producers, will be used to submit a request for a Secretarial Disaster Designation in the coming days.
Producers are urged to contact their local Farm Service Agency as soon as possible so that required specific information can be submitted in the correct format.
U.S.D.A. Secretarial disaster designations must be requested of the Secretary of Agriculture, by a Governor or the Governor’s authorized representative, by an Indian Tribal Council leader, or by an F.S.A. State Executive Director (S.E.D.). The general process is described further under the “Secretarial Disaster Designation Process.”
U.S.D.A. offers several risk management and disaster assistance options to help producers recover after disasters.