Drought declaration providing help for farmers

, Written by Roma Villavicencio, Posted: Wed, May 7 2014 at 10:29 PM, Updated: Thu, May 8 2014 at 2:29 AM

Eagle Point, Ore. -- Farmer Ron Bjork has called his ranch home for decades. That long-standing ownership gives him water rights to  Little Butte Creek. But Bjork said others aren't so lucky.

"It could be a pretty tough year." 

But now help is on the way for Jackson County.  Tuesday, Governor John Kitzhaber declared a drought state of emergency.

Jackson County Commissioner Doug Breidenthal said, "It will provide relief for some ground water, access to some wells that we didn't have before and access to the Rogue River water for irrigation for agricultural purposes." 

And it's been a tough year already with some of the driest condition is nearly 100 years.

Breidenthal said water from the Rogue River and other area wells will be freed up to help more people thanks to the drought declaration.
He said it will also provide  financial help from the Farm Service Agency. 

"The ability to get loans from federal government to offset their losses and carry them forward in the event that their crops failed due to the lack of water or they loss of any animals."   

Bjork said he won't need to ask for the money but many others in the area will. With drought affecting prices for critical supplies too, like hay.

"We import a lot of hay from Klamath to Jackson county and from what I understand they are going to be really tight this year," said Bjork.    

And for now Bjork is thankful his farm is green and for the help on the way for his farmer friends.
Breidenthal also said water levels at lakes like Applegate and Emmigrant will get lower fast, so recreation will also take hit.

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About the Author

Roma Villavicencio

NBC5 News reporter Roma Villavicencio comes from Southern California where she reported for Garden Grove TV Channel 3.

She is a graduate of the journalism/communications program at Cal State Fullerton.

Roma is very proud of her Mexican heritage. She is bi-lingual and looks forward to serving our Hispanic community.

She loves food, music and the San Francisco Giants. She lives by the slogan “viva la vida!”

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