Livestock producers in the Southern Plains need help. More than a million acres of rangeland and pastures have been destroyed by wildfires that have burned across the Texas Panhandle, northwest Oklahoma and southern Kansas in recent days, leaving thousands of head of cattle dead, injured or scattered, and destroying thousands of acres of forage, hundreds of miles of fences and countless structures.
Cattle and other livestock that survived are in need of hay and feed and producers are in need of fencing, veterinary supplies and other items that will be vital as producers try to recover from devastating losses.
Thomas Swofford, with the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), says several options are available for people who want to help, including the following livestock supply points that are currently receiving and distributing donated feed resources to producers affected by wildfires.
- Supply Point 1
301 Bull Barn Dr.
Contact: Mike Jeffcoat
- Supply Point 2
202 West Main St
Contact: J.R. Spragg
In addition to feed and hay, supply points also accept and disburse fencing, vet supplies, and other donated items.
The TAHC website also includes information about the Texas Department of Agriculture Hay Hotline, which helps agricultural producers locate forage and hay supplies for sale. If you need hay or would like to donate hay, visit http://bit.ly/2mKNeZv or call 877-429-1998.
On a more grim issue, TAHC also offers information on disposing of animal carcasses. For questions about carcass disposal, call the Texas Commission on Environment Quality (TCEQ) at 800-832-8224, or visit their website at http://bit.ly/2nj9fvi .
LOST OR FOUND LIVESTOCK
Anyone who finds cattle or other livestock with official identification, should document the number, location of the animal(s), and call the TAHC at 512-719-0733 or 806-354-9335 and TAHC will contact the owner. Anyone who finds stray cattle with brands, should call Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA) at 817-332-7064 for brand identification.
If cattle have strayed onto your property, report them to the sheriff's office within five days of discovery to be eligible for reasonable payment for maintenance or damages caused by the estray livestock. For more information regarding Texas' estray laws visit: Texas Agriculture Code, Chapter 142 at http://bit.ly/2m6ObYN .
FARM BILL ASSISTANCE
The Farm Service Agency also has programs available through the Agriculture Act of 2014 that will aid producers in recovery.
The livestock indemnity program is authorized by the Agricultural Act of 2014 (2014 Farm Bill) to provide benefits to livestock producers for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by adverse weather or disasters.
For more details, contact your local FSA office. To find your local FSA county office, http://bit.ly/2napviL .
To learn more about FSA disaster assistance programs, visit http://bit.ly/2mFiw3T .
To keep up with current fire danger situation reports, visit http://bit.ly/2niVX1J .
In Oklahoma, to donate hay or trucking services for hay, contact either the Harper County Extension office at 580-735-2252 or Buffalo Feeders at 580-727-5530 to make arrangements or provide trucking services.
Cash donations to a relief fund may be made either by mail or online. Make checks payable to Oklahoma Cattlemen's Foundation and put "Fire Relief" in the memo line and send to P.O. Box 82395, Oklahoma City, Okla. 73148. To donate online, visit http://bit.ly/1qjSqKG .
In Kansas, contact point is the Veterinary Center, 620-635-2641. Neal and Jeff Kay at Ashland Feed and Seed are coordinating hay delivery for cattle at 1975 County Road U, Ashland, Kansas, (on the south end of Main Street on the south end of town). The number to call before heading out is 785-273-5115.