Today, Senator Gordon Smith (R-OR) announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture will provide $1 million in emergency
assistance to farmers in the Klamath Project to help prevent the loss of topsoil that would otherwise occur due to the lack of water
supplies to the region.
"While there is no doubt that farmers in the Klamath Basin will continue to suffer under the recent devastating water decision, at
least the federal government is acting swiftly to lessen some of the long-term impacts of this crisis." Smith said.
The funds Smith announced today will be made available through the Soil and Water Conservation District and will be distributed on
a 75 percent/25 percent cost-share basis. While the government's 75 percent portion will be distributed in cash, farmers will be able
to provide their share as in-kind contributions such as labor and equipment costs. The emergency assistance may be used for
implementing any of the following soil erosion prevention methods:
1 - planting cover crops
2 - maintaining a crosswind ridge
3 - maintaining a crosswind trap strip
4 - mulching
"This is just one step in the long process we are undertaking to mitigate the damage done to the Klamath community by the
government's water allocation," Smith said. "I will continue to work not only to confront the short-term impacts of this crisis, but also
to prevent a similar disaster from happening in the future.
On April 20, USDA declared the Klamath Basin a disaster area making farmers in Klamath, Deschutes, Douglas, Jackson, Lake,
and Lane Counties eligible for the low-interest loans. The disaster declaration follows a decision by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
earlier this month not to deliver water to irrigators on nearly 200,000 acres of farm land served by the Klamath Project. The water will
instead be used to ensure adequate lake levels and river flows for endangered sucker fish and Coho salmon.
Farmers may contact the Soil and Water Conservation District at:
2316 S. 6th St., Suite C,
Klamath Falls, OR 97601