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Cherokee Nation announces program to help Cherokee ranchers amid hay shortage

The $1 million “Relief for Cherokee Ranchers” program is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act.
Oklahoma State University Extension
The $1 million “Relief for Cherokee Ranchers” program is funded by the American Rescue Plan Act.

The “Relief for Cherokee Ranchers” program is a $1 million fund aimed to help Cherokee ranchers struggling to keep livestock fed due to the hay shortage. 

The record heat has taken a toll on Oklahoma’s hay production, making it more expensive for cattle ranchers to feed their animals.

In an effort to help alleviate the cost, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin Jr. and Deputy Chief Bryan Warner announced a $1 million relief program aimed to support Cherokee ranchers struggling to keep livestock fed. In the announcement, Hoskin recognized how Cherokee ranchers have been burdened by the drought.

“Without adequate grazing pasture and hay to cut, it's growing more difficult to keep livestock fed,” Hoskin said. “Feed supplies are low, and costs are on the rise, so, the Cherokee Nation would like to extend a hand.”

The “Relief for Cherokee Ranchers” program will assist up to 2,000 ranchers, one per household, with a one-time payment of $500. Eligible ranchers must live within the Cherokee Nation reservation boundaries and currently be affected by the hay shortage.

Applications will open on the tribe’s Gadugi Portal starting Monday, Aug. 8 through Aug. 19, or until funds last. Eligible Cherokee ranchers will be asked to submit proof of farm income and expenses, or Schedule F, from the current or last tax year in the application.

Cherokee Nation Councilor Rex Jordan said the tribe’s administration and Council have worked to provide over $750 million in direct financial assistance to Cherokee citizens since 2020.

“When the Council reviewed and approved the Administration’s first ARPA budget in May 2020 by a vote of 16-1,” Jordan said. “Little did we know that it would set the stage for stepping up for our farmers and ranchers today in their time of need. But, here we are and ready to help.”

To learn more about the “Relief for Cherokee Ranchers” program, visit the Cherokee Nation’s website.

Xcaret Nuñez covered agriculture and rural communities for KOSU as a corps member with Report for America from June 2022 to September 2023.
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