Just a few weeks after sending letters to ranchers that no funds were available to repair fencing after the state’s largest wildfires, the federal government now has restored $6.5 million.

Carla Wikoff, the agriculture program specialist for the Kansas Farm Service Agency, said she was informed Thursday morning that the national office was going to make funding available for ranchers in Barber and Comanche counties, as well as additional funding for those affected by fire in Reno and Harvey counties.

KansasAgland.com ran a story online last week after being contacted by ranchers about the letter, which came from officials at the Barber County Farm Service Agency office. To read the story, visit http://hutch.news/rancherfencing.

Ranchers affected by the late March Anderson Creek fire – which spread across nearly 400,000 acres in Barber and Comanche counties – received letters dated May 27 – one day after signup ended – telling them their requests for cost-share assistance were received, but the total exceeded the funds currently available.

“They got the letters – causing the stir,” Wikoff said.

The Emergency Conservation Program pays ranchers up to 75 percent of their costs – not to exceed the local rate – not to exceed $200,000.

The FSA county committee will go through the applications and approve all that are eligible. Ranchers then will get letters saying whether the have been approved.

Wikoff said ranchers will need to turn in receipts and bills to get their cost-share payments.

The Kansas FSA has received $6.5 million for the Anderson Creek cost share – which is based on the dollar amount of the cost-share applications received.

Wikoff said funding has been made available – roughly $508,000 – for ranchers in Harvey and Reno counties.

Wikoff added it is good news for ranchers and the county offices will do their best to process the applications as quickly as possible.

Meanwhile, ranchers have applied for livestock program funding, although totals aren’t available at this time, said Blaine Rutherford, another agriculture program specialist for the state FSA office. One program covers death losses, and another covers losses of hay and forage.

Applications for the hay program – or the Emergency Livestock Assistance Program – are due by Sept. 30, he said.