Farm Progress

Farmers and ranchers donated hay, trucks and supplies to help victims of Western wildfires.

March 24, 2017

3 Min Read

If the heartbreaking events from wildfires in the West showed the world one thing, it is that when disaster strikes, farmers and ranchers in America's heartland rise up.

Forget the fact that these same farmers and ranchers are struggling to make ends meet in this down agriculture economy. Disregard the detail that these same farmers and ranchers have their own livestock to feed and care for at home. Ignore the point that these same farmers and ranchers are fueling trucks and loading trailers to travel hundreds of mile on their own dime. Why? Because these farmers and ranchers make up rural America. And in this part of the country, when hard times hit, they strike back.

These farm families — men, women and children — are not just posting inspiring quotes on Facebook or Twitter. No, they are the get-their-boots-dirty, break-a-sweat, and deliver-a-meal kind of people. They refuse to allow their fellow farmers and ranchers to suffer without taking action.

Still, social media has been a useful tool in coordinating efforts for wildfire relief in the Plains. Several state cattlemen's associations, departments of agriculture and farm publications have served as a resource. It has made a larger relief effort seem more like a small community campaign. It has made it possible for farmers and ranchers to connect, plan and then deliver to impacted areas.

And nothing make my heart swell more than the response from my home state of Missouri. It starts with simple tweets from the Missouri Department of Agriculture, and from farmers and ranchers, that pretty much sum up our views here in the country.

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 On Facebook, Kalena Kenney-Bruce posted: 

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 A Facebook post from Lonny Duckworth reads: "Last night at its regular monthly meeting, Bates County Cattlemen approved a donation from its treasury and the passing of the hat of over $6,000 to Fire Relief in Kansas. The committee made the decision to make cash donations to approximately three families who have lost their homes. We felt that would help fulfill some immediate cash for personal necessities. It is unimaginable everything would be gone in an instant! Cattlemen helping cattlemen the way it should be. Thanks to all who are helping in any way!"

Duckworth links to this March 14 Missouri Department of Agriculture Facebook post: "BREAKING NEWS: Let's get moving! Gov. Eric Greitens asked for, and has received, a waiver of travel time restrictions from MoDOT to move the hay so generously offered by Missouri farmers & ranchers through April 8, 2017. Permits for oversized loads of hay will be issued free of charge, be issued up to 12 feet wide and allow travel during curfew hours. "Support for our neighbors dealing with the wildfire has been coming in at an overwhelming rate. To help handle the surplus of hay donations, we need trucks to take it west. If you know of willing trucking companies, farmers, ranchers or agribusiness moving hay into the Great Plains, please call the Missouri Cattlemen's Association at 573-499-9162 (serious inquiries only)."

Missouri communities came together to organize relief convoys: abc17news.com/news/boone-county-farmer-organizes-relief-convoy-for-western-wildfires/397968924

I am proud to call Missouri home. To our fellow farmers and ranchers, know that we are here to help you rise from the ashes with a renewed hope in faith, friends and farming.

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