With each bale of hay, a group of farmers near Crescent hope to lift the a little bit of the burden off of those who are hurting.
More than 300,000 acres burned in northwest Oklahoma after wildfires sparked last week. Countless farmers lost their cattle, their fencing, and their livelihood.
“To go through what they’re going through out there – I can’t imagine what their families had built up all their lives and going through all this devastation,” said Jarod Pollard.
Both Pollard and Chantz Robinson grew up with farming in their families and are now continuing that tradition.
“Some of the guys that are going to be driving these trucks are all younger guys and it’s kind of giving back to the older age that broke the ground for us and learned all the hard lessons that some of us don’t have to learn,” said Robinson.
This group will send about 600 bales of hay this week alone.
The Harper County Extension Office said it has coordinated another 20,000-plus bales since the fires began.
But with each cow needing about one round bale per month and some farmers having hundreds in their herds, the need for hay will only continue.
“It’s going to take them years to survive this and so we just feel good that we are able to help out at this time,” said John Pollard, who owns a farm near Crescent.
The OSU Extension offices have set up a web site to help connect donors with transport options, along with other information. Click here to view the site: http://oces.okstate.edu/harper/fire-relief-2017.
Also, below is more fire relief information distributed by the Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management:
ASSISTANCE FOR FARMERS AND RANCHERS
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry provides the following information for farmers and ranchers impacted by the fires in northwest Oklahoma.
A relief fund has been established by the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation (OCF) to help Beaver, Ellis, Harper and Woodward County Cattlemen who have been affected by recent wildfires in the area. Donations to the relief effort can be made by mail or online. Checks should be made payable to the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation with “Fire Relief” in the memo line, and can be mailed to P.O. Box 82395 Oklahoma City, OK 73148. Online donations can be made at www.okcattlemen.org.
Donations of hay can be made at the following locations:
- Buffalo Feeders at 4 miles east of Buffalo, OK on Highway 64 (Contact: Caleb Nelson (580) 727-1332)
- Tyree Ag on US-283 in Laverne, OK (Contact: Jay Dee Nielsen (580) 334-6819)
- Dale Long, northeast of Gate, OK (Contact: Dale Long (580) 571-1249)
- May Coop Elevator in May, OK (Contact: Tom Fanning (580) 727-5530)
- Buffalo Coop at 322 E Harper in Buffalo, OK (Contact: Beverly Mings (580) 735-2533)
- Western Equipment at 3999 Lakeview Drive in Woodward, OK (Contact: Caleb Zook (580) 254-0080)
For donations of trucking services contact the Harper County Extension Office at (580) 735-2252.
USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) also has disaster assistance programs available that may be able to provide relief to producers affected by the fires. Producers planning to apply for assistance should document all losses with records and pictures. The Harper County FSA can be reached at (580) 735-2033 ext. 2, and the Woodward County FSA at (580) 756-7882 ext. 2.
Producers can also seek assistance FSA’s Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) for livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality caused by eligible loss conditions including eligible adverse weather, eligible disease and eligible attacks. For more information on LIP, contact your local FSA office.
FSA’s Emergency Conservation Program (ECP) helps farmers and ranchers repair damage to farmlands caused by natural disasters and help put in place methods of water conservation during severe drought by providing funding and assistance. Farmers and ranchers can check with their local FSA office for more information on ECP.
The Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) is also administered by the FSA of USDA. This program covers losses due to an eligible adverse weather or loss condition including blizzards, disease, water shortages and wildfires, as determined by the Secretary. ELAP covers losses not covered under other disaster assistance programs such as LIP. For more information on the ELAP program, contact your local FSA office.