TAFT, Okla. – What was a path to the cattle pasture is now a road to nowhere.
“I’ve been at Jess Dunn for 20 years and have never even [seen] anything close to this,” said Terry Fry, with the Department of Corrections Agri-Services Division.
As the Arkansas River began spilling into the pastures at Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Muskogee County, crews with the Oklahoma Department of Corrections Agri-Services Division had only a few hours to move 200 head of cattle out of harm’s way.
“We had cattle there where that building’s at Tuesday night,” Fry said, pointing to a building that is nearly underwater. “Our intention was to keep that herd of cows there all summer, just rotate them back and forth. That’s halfway submerged right now.”
Crews quickly got a tractor and a bucket of feed to lure the herd to higher ground. Fry says some of the cows had to do a bit of swimming to get to a safe spot, but they were able to save all of the cattle.
At this point, 270 acres the department uses to produce hay is completely underwater.
“Now, I don’t even know if we can get enough hay for our own cattle, let alone enough to carry over and help somebody else out,” Fry said. “It’s gonna be costly for us.”
Officials say it could take over a month for the water to recede. At that time, crews will work to fully assess the damage.