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Stitt Cabinet secretary asks Oklahomans to pray for rain to help farmers and ranchers amid ongoing drought

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Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry
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Gov. Kevin Stitt poses outside the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry building in a May 21, 2020, photo.

Oklahoma Agriculture Secretary Blayne Arthur on Thursday asked Oklahomans to join together in prayer for rain amid an ongoing drought in much of the state.

"As abnormally dry conditions threaten the crop yields and livelihoods of many across the state, join me as I pray for much needed rain and provision for our farmers, ranchers and their families," Arthur wrote in a social media post.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly 75% of Oklahoma is experiencing at least moderate drought, with much of the central and western parts of the state in severe, extreme, and exceptional drought, the highest classification.

Experts have noted human-caused climate change is impacting both the length and severity of drought events. In a 2016 report, the federal Environmental Protection Agency said Oklahoma could expect 50% reduction in some crop yields due to the effects of climate change.

The appeal for prayer to combat drought is not the Oklahoma executive branch's first call for prayer in response to a crisis. In December of 2020, the governor called on Oklahomans to pray and fast "to ask God to heal those who are sick, comfort those who are hurting and provide renewed strength and wisdom to all who are managing the effects of COVID-19."

In 2016, then-Gov. Mary Fallin called on Oklahoma's Christians to pray for the success of the state's oil and gas industry. She later revised the appeal to ask non-Christians to pray, too.