Clements: Recent wildfires across Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas have left ranchers and farmers assessing damage and coming together as a community to rebuild. Cattle, fences, lives and homes were all lost in the fires. Texas Farm Bureau’s Gene Hall described the fires that swept through Texas a few weeks ago as a perfect storm.
Hall: We had rain earlier in the year that produced a lot of lush growth in the eastern part of the panhandle. And then the winds came back, dried all that out and it only took one spark, we think from a transformer, to destroy more than 400,000 acres of grassland. This also took the lives of five people, caused about $21 million in damage and approximately 3,000-5,000 head of livestock.
Clements: He says relief efforts started before the fires were put out.
Hall: As far as we know right now, the hay and feed needs have been met. The Texas Farm Bureau is focusing right now on using our Foundation to solicit tax-deductible donations that can be used for other things. These other things include the building of fences, which thousands of miles of fences were lost in the panhandle to these fires.
Clements: He says farmers and ranchers across the country have come together to support the ranching community in Texas.
Hall: Agriculture in Texas and elsewhere across the nation is kind of a community, it’s a bond, that we share with people that we may not even know. Years ago, back in the history of farming in this country, people would get together to build a barn if a barn was lost. And it’s kind of that same spirit that we’re getting together to do something that needs to be done. Farmers and ranchers just kind of feel compelled to help in some way.
Clements: Visit the Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas Farm Bureau websites for information on how to help affected farmers and ranchers rebuild after the wildfires. Micheal Clements, Washington.
Communications Assistant, AFBF