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In the wake of a man’s death last summer while fighting fire on agricultural land, and the fines his employer incurred because of it, farmers need more clarification on firefighting rules, an official said.

A second and final round of trade mitigation payments meant to assist farmers suffering from damage due to “unjustified trade retaliation by foreign nations” has been announced by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, and farmers in Wasco and Hood River counties are encouraged to apply by the Jan. 15 deadline.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown visited Sherman County last week and heard from farmers and cattlemen that repairing roads and fences were top issues following the summer’s devastating fires.

Agricultural producers have new resources available to them to prepare for and recover from impacts of natural disasters on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s new website, farmers.gov.

Three members of Oregon’s Congressional Delegation are on the move to get federal assistance for farmers in Sherman and Wasco counties who have sustained damage from recent wildfires. U.S. Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., has written a letter asking U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to allow emergency grazing of livestock on Conservation Reserve Program ground. He also asks that farmers be given flexibility to plant cover crops for soil stabilization without being placed in the continuous production category with the Risk Management Agency and having their crop insurance adversely affected.

Level three evacuation notices – leave immediately – have been issued to Wasco County residents between Sherers Falls to Mack’s Canyon along the Deschues River due to a grass fire that started Thursday afternoon.

Wheat fields burnt in the Substation Fire — 79,121 acres in Wasco and Sherman County — are now at risk of both wind and water erosion, according to soil and water conservationists with the United States Department of Agriculture personnel in The Dalles. “Both wind and water can be a problem,” said Clinton Whitten, who works on soil issues with farmers in both counties.

To the editor: Vote for Jamie McLeod-Skinner and vote for our future! When our farmers and ranchers have a hopeful future we all benefit from a healthy economy. But action must happen now to minimize the impact of global warming.