Oklahomans Step Up To Help Nebraska Ranchers
CLAREMORE, Oklahoma - Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts declared a state of emergency today as they brace for more rain on top of an already flooded region.
At least three people have died from the storm, and right now the state is estimating a $400 Million livestock loss. Now people from across the country, including Oklahoma, are stepping up to help.
“We’re just happy to be a part of it really. Midwesterners try to do the right thing,” said Claremore Farmer, Robert Bell.
Robert Bell says he's more of a hobby farmer but understands the hardships of raising cattle.
He says a friend in Nebraska reached out to him and said her cattle had nothing to eat, and he knew he had a few bales to spare.
"They need help, it's pretty devastating up there,” said Bell. “The floods have pretty much taken everything."
Through Facebook, Bell was able to connect with truck drivers, Lee and Lisa Schmitt.
They usually don't haul hay, but after they saw the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, they started delivering hay to disaster areas.
“We started with Hurricane Harvey and now Nebraska,” said Lisa Schmitt. “It’s a really good feeling when you go to sleep at night.”
Lisa Schmitt says her husband, Lee, has been driving a truck for more than 30 years and now they are happy to help people who need it most because they have the means to do it.
“Farmers are a lot like truck drivers. and someday it may be us that needs help,” said Schmitt.
The Schmitt’s say their truck can haul anywhere from 20 to 30 bales of hay, and they hope this won't be the only truckload coming from Oklahoma.
“We are asking anyone and everyone to help us out,” said Schmitt.
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts says farmers are bearing the brunt of the most "widespread destruction in state's history.” The Nebraska Department of Agriculture says farm losses could top one billion dollars. Schmitt says it's difficult to look at cattle in Nebraska standing helplessly on islands or being rescued from mud.
“I’ve always thought the humans can get what they need, it’s the animals that rely on us humans to take care of them,” said Schmitt.
Schmitt says she doesn't personally know anyone impacted by the devastation but knows this hay will go a long way.
“They don't know me and they're going to be there when I get there, and they are going to unload this hay and take it to their animals and I am going to be happy for them,” said Schmitt.
Bell says he’s not sure if his friend is going to get the hay or who is going to get it, but says he is happy as long as it’s going to someone who needs it.
“I don’t know if she’ll get it or her family will get it or who will get it but really doesn’t matter, you know, someone who is deserving is going to get it,” said Bell.
Schmitt says they hope to have this truckload in Omaha in the next few days, but they hope to come back and take more loads to those who need it, so they’re just hoping people across the country will step up to help.
“If you have extra hay or you have a truck, or even a pick up with a trailer, you can help,” said Schmitt.
To get in touch with Lisa, you can message her at Trucking Across America with the Schmitts.
They say you can also check out the facebook page, Trucks with Room to Spare. On that page, there are some organized efforts in different states.