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Wanting to help Panhandle farmers and ranchers who have lost homes, livestock and/or fencing to the state's largest wildfire? Here are four donation tips to consider.

Shelley E. Huguley, Editor

February 29, 2024

2 Min Read
wildfire
Looking for ways to help Texas Panhandle farmers and ranchers in need? Consider these tips first. Texas A&M Forest Service

As the state’s largest wildfire in Texas history continues to rage in the Panhandle and parts of Oklahoma, consuming homes, livestock and ranching facilities, many are asking how they can help.

Multiple, if not hundreds, of people have taken to social media to offer services or supplies. As people try to decipher where, how, and to whom to give, Erica Irlbeck, Texas Tech University, says that through her research on natural disaster communications, while donations are well-meaning, they “can be extremely overwhelming for those in the affected area.”

Irlbeck, associate dean for Outreach & Engagement within Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources' Development & External Relations Office, provides four quick tips to consider when donating to wildfire relief:

  1. Donate to a reputable organization that you know is working in the Panhandle.

  2. Make sure that organization has a location to store those donations and a plan to distribute them. “Please don’t show up with a truckload of stuff with no place to put it,” she advises.

  3. Donate only requested items.

  4. In natural disasters, the best way to assist is through monetary donations so those affected can purchase exactly what they need. “Money can be put to use the easiest and fastest,” she said.

Related:Livestock loss massive in Texas Panhandle

Organizations such as the Texas Southern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Department of Agriculture and other agricultural groups, “have experience working directly with farmers and ranchers and will connect them with the available funds,” said Irlbeck, who authored “The Crisis Communications Guide for Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources.”

Organizations previously mentioned that are accepting or assisting with wildfire relief can be found on the following websites:

In addition to monetary donations, according to a recent Texas A&M AgriLife handout, the following items are needed as well:

  • Hay

  • Feed

  • Fence supplies

  • Cow feed

  •  Milk replacer

The items can be delivered to 301 Bull Barn Road, Pampa, Texas. See the flyer below for complete details.

agrilife-donations-pampa.jpg

Current wildfire activity

The latest wildfire activity, according to the Texas A&M Forest Service, is as follows:

  • Smokehouse Creek Fire in Hutchinson County is burning a total of 1,075,000 acres across Texas and Oklahoma and is 3% contained.

  • Grape Vine Creek Fire in Gray County at 30,000 acres and 60% contained

  • Windy Deuce Fire in Moore County at 142,000 acres and 30% contained

  • Magenta Fire in Oldham County at 2,500 acres and 65% contained

Related:Immediate care needed for cattle harmed by wildfires

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About the Author(s)

Shelley E. Huguley

Editor, Southwest Farm Press

Shelley Huguley has been involved in agriculture for the last 25 years. She began her career in agricultural communications at the Texas Forest Service West Texas Nursery in Lubbock, where she developed and produced the Windbreak Quarterly, a newspaper about windbreak trees and their benefit to wildlife, production agriculture and livestock operations. While with the Forest Service she also served as an information officer and team leader on fires during the 1998 fire season and later produced the Firebrands newsletter that was distributed quarterly throughout Texas to Volunteer Fire Departments. Her most personal involvement in agriculture also came in 1998, when she married the love of her life and cotton farmer Preston Huguley of Olton, Texas. As a farmwife, she knows first-hand the ups and downs of farming, the endless decisions made each season based on “if” it rains, “if” the drought continues, “if” the market holds. She is the bookkeeper for their family farming operation and cherishes moments on the farm such as taking harvest meals to the field or starting a sprinkler in the summer with the whole family lending a hand. Shelley has also freelanced for agricultural companies such as Olton CO-OP Gin, producing the newsletter Cotton Connections while also designing marketing materials to promote the gin. She has published articles in agricultural publications such as Southwest Farm Press while also volunteering her marketing and writing skills to non-profit organizations such as Refuge Services, an equine-assisted therapy group in Lubbock. She and her husband reside in Olton with their three children Breely, Brennon and HalleeKate.

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