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Farmers, ranchers affected by wildfires invited to information session

WOODWARD, Okla. – The massive wildfires in western Oklahoma have been devastating for farmers and ranchers in the state.

For the past two weeks, firefighters from across the country have been battling the 34 Complex fire in Woodward County. The blaze began on April 12 as three fires in Woodward and Harper counties subsequently burned together as a result of the high winds and low humidity.

In all, the 34 Complex fire has burned 62,481 acres.

Following the rainfall on Saturday, crews say the fire is about 94 percent contained.

On Saturday, officials say the Rhea Fire in Dewey County was about 30 percent contained. It has burned nearly 289,000 acres.

While firefighters continue to battle the fires in western Oklahoma, many agricultural producers are looking for answers.

The USDA Farm Service Agency and Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service are hosting an informational meeting for agricultural producers affected by the recent wildfires. The meeting will take place on April 24 at 1 p.m. at Woodward’s High Plains Technology Center, located at 3921 34th St.

There is no cost to attend.

“Think of the meeting as a one-stop learning experience in that we’ve tried to gather expert speakers who can address as many key questions producers may have as possible,” said Dana Bay, Woodward County Extension agricultural educator.

Experts will speak about the Oklahoma Cattemen’s Association Foundation Relief Program, along with the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service’s collection of agricultural-related supplies. Experts will also talk about what producers need to do to take advantage of FSA programs and FSA emergency loans.

“Additional speakers and topic sessions may be added,” Bowdy Peach, Woodward FSA executive director, said. “We know everyone is busy but think of the meeting as an investment ensuring you’re doing what you need to do as effectively as possible.”