Fires blazed across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado last week and fellow cattlemen and women now need your help. Fire relief funds have been set up for each area in the wake of the devastating fires. Currently there is a need for fencing supplies, feed, hay and trucking services. If you are able to help please see below, a list of how to donate to each area being affected. Please continue to say a prayer for those being affected.
Kansas Livestock Association is organizing hay and fencing material donations for delivery to affected areas in Kansas. To make in-kind donations, call KLA at (785) 273-5115. Cash donations can be made through the Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF), KLA’s charitable arm, by going to www.kla.org/donationform.aspx.
There is an immediate need for hay, feed, fencing supplies, individuals willing to provide trucking, etc. for the farmers and ranchers devastated by yesterday’s fires. Donations should be taken to CHS Grainland in Haxtun. A loader and scale are both available, if needed. Contact Rick Unrein 970-520-3565 for more information about dropping off donations. Donations can also be dropped off at Justin Price’s farm (11222 CR 7 Sedgwick, CO). For more information, please contact: Kent Kokes 970-580-8108, John Michal 970-522-2330, or Justin Price 970-580-6315.
Colorado Farm Bureau’s Foundation is taking monetary donations. Checks payable to Colorado Farm Bureau Foundation, cash and credit card payments are being accepted. Please note “Disaster Fund-CO Wildfire” in the memo line on the check. Cash and checks can be sent to:
Colorado Farm Bureau Foundation
Attn: Disaster Fund
9177 E. Mineral Circle
Centennial, CO 80112
If you would like to donate to this relief effort, you can do so 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, OK 73148. To donate online, visit www.okcattlemen.org. If you would like to donate hay or trucking services for hay, you can do so by contacting either the Harper County Extension Office at 580-735-2252 or Buffalo Feeders at 580-727-5530 to make arrangements or provide trucking services.
Multiple fires in the Texas Panhandle have burned more than 400,000 acres. As part of a coordinated response with multiple state agencies and emergency managers, Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association is soliciting hay donations. Two supply points have been established to collect donated hay. Each has been listed below. If you have hay that you can donate and transport to either supply point, please contact the location directly prior to transportation.
Supply Point 1
202 West Main
Contact: J.R. Spragg
Supply Point 2
301 Ball Park Drive
Contact: Mike Jeffcoat
The STAR Fund (State of Texas Agriculture Relief Fund) is taking monetary donations for Texas. You may make donations online at:
or send check donations to:
Texas Department of Agriculture
1700 North Congress Avenue
Austin, Texas 78701
South Dakota gives back
Beresford, S.D. farmer Jed Olbertson, in cooperation with South Dakota Farm Bureau, is coordinating donations of hay and financial support that will be shared with those in need.
Through social media, Olbertson was able to connect with other farmers across the country to begin putting a plan in place to help farmers and ranchers who have been impacted by the fires.
“While there are a lot of needs, we felt the best place to start was by providing hay to feed their livestock,” said Olbertson. “In just a few day’s time we already have three semi-truck loads of hay donated that we are hoping to deliver to Kansas early this week.”
Those Olbertson has connected with that are donating and transporting hay will be gathering at the Farmers Co-op in Beresford this week to load trucks and begin the trip. In addition to providing hay, a fund has been established for cash donations at the State Bank of Alcester. The monetary donations will help offset the costs of transportation and any remaining funds will be donated to the fire relief effort. To contact the State Bank of Alcester, call them at 605-934-2500. Checks can be sent directly to the bank at PO Box 168, Alcester, SD 57001.
“We know times are tough right now for those of us in agriculture, but what has happened to farmers and ranchers with these terrible fires puts things in perspective,” said Olbertson. “It simply makes you feel good to help others who are going through some unimaginable stress.”
Olbertson is just one South Dakota producer inspired to coordinate hay donations. Others, including some from the Garretson area, are also arranging hay to be delivered.
South Dakota Farm Bureau is taking part of this effort to give back in a small way for the support area farmers and ranchers received following past disasters in South Dakota.
“Following the Atlas blizzard in 2013, producers around the country provided similar support when thousands of cattle in South Dakota died following record breaking snowfall,” said Krystil Smit, SDFB Executive Director. “We are honored to provide whatever support and coordination we can to this effort to pay forward the help our farmers and ranchers have received. Through our collaboration with Farm Bureau organizations in the states affected by the fires, we can help identify the best legitimate sources to receive hay and monetary donations.”
If you have questions or would like more information about providing donations for farmers and ranchers impacted by the fires, contact South Dakota Farm Bureau at 605-353-8050 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. A Facebook page is also being created and can be found at SD High Plains Fire Relief.
4-H’ers rally to save orphaned calves
A Kansas 4-H Club has rallied supporters in the state and surrounding states to take in orphaned calves whose mothers were victims of the wildfires that raced across several western counties last week.
Rachelle Schlochtermeier, one of the parent leaders of the Four Leaf Clover Club in Meade County, said the response to the club’s idea to “do something” for families affected by the fires has been overwhelming.
“We have been hearing from people all over the state of Kansas, even people from Michigan and Missouri and Oklahoma,” she said. “People want to make a donation or find out how they can help.”
Schlochtermeier and another parent, Erin Boggs, helped their 4-H Club get organized, and have seen clubs in Elkhart, Ness City and Russell join the effort to rescue orphaned calves and place them in good homes. More groups are joining in all the time, Schlochtermeier said.
The volunteers are spending their own time and money traveling to pick up calves, assess their condition and arrange for their care.
As of last weekend, the groups have saved 85 orphaned calves and placed them under care. Once the calves are healthy – and producers have rebuilt barns, fences and other facilities – the club members will return them to their original home.
The fires came at a particularly difficult time for cattle producers, a time when many cows had just given birth. One rescued calf was just a few days old, Schlochtermeier said, and was still nursing. Fortunately for the calf, it was able to get colostrum from its mother, which will help its chances of future health.
Many other calves are 2-3 months old. All of the rescued calves will receive an antibiotic and B12 vitamin, as well as milk replacement, often bottle fed by the volunteers. Schlochtermeier said the Hillsboro Veterinary Clinic has provided some medical care.
Most foster families have taken between two and six calves, Schlochtermeier said. Right now, they don’t know how long they’ll have to care for the animals.
“This is a huge undertaking,” she said. “The condition that some of these calves are coming in …”.
Gathering her emotions, she continued: “This is going to be a long-term thing. The farmers don’t have anywhere to go with their calves right now. There is a lot of work to be done and a lot of commitment needed to keep these babies alive.”
The group has established a Facebook page for people who want to get involved with the effort. On Facebook, search for “Orphan Calf Relief of SW Kansas.” Relief funds have also been set up at Ashland Feed and Seed, Meade Co-op, and Country Feeds in Montezuma.
Those interested in donating money, products or anything else may contact those businesses directly, or call Schlochtermeier at 785-483-0421.
Official figures for cows lost in the fires that affected parts of 21 counties are not available, but unofficial reports indicate that many ranchers lost hundreds from herds that they’ve spent many years building. The calves are an important connection to bloodlines that the ranchers have worked hard to establish.
“We’re trying to give them peace of mind that their calves are being taken care of while they get the rest of their farm back together,” Schlochtermeier said.