CHEYENNE — Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon has submitted his U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) request for a Secretarial disaster designation as indicated in a February 20, 2023, news release.
In his letter to the USDA, Gordon noted that Wyoming’s winter season started early, and the culminating impacts of sustained cold, wind, and snowfall have caused significant distress to the livestock industry across the state.
Access to traditional winter grazing resources has become dire as well because many ranch, county, and BLM roads are drifting shut. Those roads continue to re-drift because of high winds even when cleared, Gordon’s letter explained.
The Governor’s Office, in partnership with local, state and federal agencies and impacted ag producers, worked collaboratively to determine losses, the timeframe and the geographic scale of impact.
Data obtained through the National Weather Service’s event tracking system reveals that 66.5 percent of the time, from January 1 to February 27, Wyoming was under some combination of winter storm warnings, blizzard warnings, winter weather advisories, or high wind warnings–far outpacing any other state in the lower 48.
“State, county, local, and individual resources have been deployed and are being shared between entities for snow removal, but there is too much volume and wind to keep roads open and passable to gain access to livestock,” Gordon’s letter states.
Additionally, Gordon’s administration has been working closely with the local Farm Service Agency office to identify the areas of greatest impact and corresponding needs of the agriculture community.