OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. — The Oklahoma Legislature appropriated $20 million on September 29 to aid the agriculture industry across the state during the ongoing drought.

According to a press release from the Oklahoma House of Representatives, House Bill 1006XX designates $20 million to the Emergency Drought Relief Fund of the State Treasury.

The bill passed both chambers overwhelmingly and will move to Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt’s desk for consideration.

The release says during the regular session in the spring, lawmakers also approved House Bill 2959 to designate $3 million for the fund.

The fund was created in 2013 to provide funding for emergency drought relief activities once a drought emergency has been declared. Funds must be expended solely on efforts to relieve drought conditions.

The release says earlier in September, Stitt issued an emergency drought declaration to reactivate the emergency drought commission, which will determine how legislative appropriations are used.

“The vast majority of farms in our state are family-owned, many of which have been operating for generations,” said Kerbs, who chairs the House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee. “We need to take care of our farmers and ranchers because they’re the ones who take care of us, and this bill gave us an opportunity for the legislative body to help those in need now while also mitigating future situations.”

The release says data from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows over half of the state is facing extreme drought, while nearly 14% of the state falls under exceptional drought, the highest level.