Panhandle Wildfire Update: Disaster declared in 6 counties, USDA offers help, distribution of feed, cleanup begins
The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension reports they an ample supply of hay and feed at the supply points listed below to meet ranchers needs for the next 2-3 weeks. If you’re loaded or on the way, you’re still more than welcome, but if you’re still in the planning stages, please give them a call first.
Fencing supplies are still needed, as are monetary donations to support ranchers in the future. Fencing supplies can go to the AgriLife supply points. Monetary donations can be made to the Texas Dept. of Agriculture STAR Fund.
Supply Point 1 (Lipscomb County)
Lipscomb County Fairgrounds
202 West Main
Contact: J.R. Sprague, AgriLife Extension County Extension Agent
Supply Point 2 (Gray County)
Clyde Carruth Pavillion
301 Ball Park Drive
Contact: Mike Jeffcoat, AgriLife Extension County Agent
Supply Point 3 (Hemphill County)
100 Hackberrry Trail
Canadian, TX 79011
Contact: Andy Holloway, AgriLife Extension County Extension Agent
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) acting State Executive Director in Texas, Erasmo (Eddie) Trevino, reminds farmers and ranchers affected by the recent wildfires that disaster assistance programs are available to support their recovery efforts.
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) can assist farmers and ranchers who lost livestock, grazing land, fences or eligible trees, bushes and vines as a result of a natural disaster. FSA administers a suite of safety-net programs to help producers recover from eligible losses, including the Livestock Indemnity Program, the Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program, and the Tree Assistance Program. Detailed information on all of these disaster assistance programs can be found online at www.fsa.usda.gov/disaster.
In addition, the FSA Emergency Conservation Program provides funding and technical assistance for farmers and ranchers to rehabilitate farmland damaged by natural disasters. Producers located in counties that receive a primary or contiguous disaster designation are eligible for low-interest emergency loans to help them recover from production and physical losses. Compensation is also available to producers who purchased coverage through the Noninsured Crop Disaster Assistance Program, which protects non-insurable crops (including native grass for grazing) against natural disasters that result in lower yields, crop losses or prevented planting.
“Recent wildfires have caused devastating losses for many farmers and ranchers in our state,” said Trevino. “Over the past several years, wildfires have increased in severity, intensity, and cost as the fire season has grown longer. Natural disasters such as wildfires are unavoidable, but USDA has strong safety-net programs to help producers get back on their feet.”
For more FSA disaster assistance program information, please contact your local USDA Service Center. To find your local USDA Service Center go to http://offices.usda.gov.
Following major wildfires in the Texas Panhandle, Gov. Greg Abbott declared a State of Disaster March 11 in the following counties: Gray, Hemphill, Lipscomb, Ochiltree, Roberts and Wheeler. In addition to the disaster declaration, the State of Texas has asked the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a Secretarial Disaster Designation to activate the USDA Farm Service Agency’s Emergency Loan Program to help eligible farmers and ranchers rebuild and recover from losses sustained by the wildfires.
Abbott had previously granted a waiver to hay carriers in the Texas Panhandle and asked the USDA to accelerate the temporary suspension of grazing restrictions in the affected areas, in addition to urging the Farm Service Agency to expedite the implementation of the Emergency Conservation Program that provides critical financial resources to impacted farmers and ranchers.
To read the full letter, click here.
Gov. Greg Abbott joined Governors Sam Brownback of Kansas, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, and Mary Fallin of Oklahoma in sending a letter last week to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling for the temporary suspension of grazing restrictions in the Conservation Reserve Program after devastating wildfires. The letter also asks for the USDA-Farm Service Agency (FSA) to expedite implementation of the Emergency Conservation Program that will provide critical financial resources to affected farmers and ranchers to rebuild fences.
“Emergency grazing authorization would provide immediate relief to livestock producers in areas affected by the ongoing wildfires,” the letter reads. These fires have also devastated critical infrastructure, including fencing, on farms and ranches in our states. The Emergency Conservation Program provides critical financial resources to affected farmers and ranchers to rebuild fences. We urge the Farm Service Agency to expedite the implementation of the Emergency Conservation Program in our states. The sooner the program is implemented, the faster the livestock industries in our states can begin to rebuild from this devastating event.”
To read the full letter, click here.
SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline provides crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters such as the Texas panhandle wildfires. Read more…
Texas A&M Extension Disaster Education Network’s (EDEN) Wildfire Resources webpage provides current fire situation info, recovery checklists and other resources.
Wildfire Aftermath: Beef Cattle Health Considerations
Smoke inhalation, burns and thermal injury, exertion, stress, and injuries suffered during escape can all cause longer-term effects on cattle that have survived wildfires. Some of the body systems that can be affected include: Lungs, Feet, Teats, Bulls, and Eyes. While a great number of surviving cattle will not show any long-term effects of a wildfire, cattle producers should be away of the potential of problems down the road. To learn more, click here.
Producers should always consult a local veterinarian to help them make treatment and culling decisions in the best interests of the animal and the operation.
If you are affected by the wildfire, call the Texas Commission on Environment Quality (TCEQ) regional office that serves your county. at 800-832-8224 or visit their website at www.tceq.texas.gov
Producers need accurate counts of the number and type of livestock in their inventory before and after the eligible event. Beginning and ending year inventory are a minimum to get you started and should be supplemented with production records (births, death losses, weaning numbers, etc.), purchase records, sale records, veterinarian records, inventory-related bank loan documentation, records assembled for tax filing, and other reliable documents that can help verify livestock inventories at different points throughout the year.