Southeast Oregon Ranchers Still Waiting For Aid, Six Months After Massive Fire

Jan 8, 2013

Six months ago today, a lightning strike ignited one of the largest fires in Oregon’s history. Ranchers who lost cattle and grazing land still haven’t received federal disaster aid.

Credit Washington DNR

The Long Draw Fire killed more than 100 cows and calves. And it left federal range land in Southeast Oregon blackened and off limits to grazing for two years.

Rancher Richard Eiguren says that after the fire, it’s costing him five times as much to buy grass and hay to feed his herd.

He says friends and family have struggled to find any suitable land for their animals.

“My dad’s been looking for grass for his cows, well, since the fire. And he’s found one spot, but it’s ridiculous. And that’s all he’s found so far.”

The federal relief programs that help ranchers when they lose cattle and grazing land expired last year.

And Congress did not include disaster relief programs when it extended milk subsidies and some other parts of the Farm Bill last week.