Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Cash donations being sought for wildfire damages

Wildfires that ravaged the eastern and northern Panhandle regions last week have spurred an outpouring of donations from around the state and nation to help ag producers in a time of crisis.

Danny Nusser, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service regional program leader in Amarillo, said late last week that hay donations have been received to cover ranchers’ needs for the time being.

“We want to thank everyone for the overwhelming support of hay and feed in the last 5 days,” Nusser said. “We are now to a point at all of the supply points to focus our effort towards delivery of the donated feed and hay to producers in the country. We feel like we will have ample supply of feed and hay to meet the ranchers needs for 2-3 weeks.”

The greatest needs going forward, Nusser said, are monetary donations to the accounts supporting ranchers needs in the future.

Driven by high winds and dry conditions, Panhandle wildfires burned almost 500,000 acres, killed four people and many head of livestock, and caused millions of dollars in property damage, including critical infrastructure like fences.

Governor Greg Abbott declared a State of Disaster in Gray, Hemphill, Lipscomb, Ochiltree, Roberts, and Wheeler counties, and 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.

“Last week’s wildfires have had a devastating impact on a significant portion of the Texas Panhandle,” said Governor Abbott. “Texans have always been resilient in their response to disasters and this time will be no different. Cecilia and I thank the first responders who are working tirelessly to help all those affected, and we continue to ask that all Texans keep the Panhandle community and the families of the victims of this disaster in their thoughts and prayers.”

For those interested in donating, a public service announcement with important information is on page 10 of this week’s Enterprise. For general questions about relief efforts, call 806-677-5628.

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