April 17, 2017
With memories of last fall’s intense wildfire season fresh on their minds, Alabama farmers recently raised over $80,000 to help ranchers devastated by wildfires in Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado.
The early March wildfires destroyed more than a million acres of prime grazing land and killed thousands of cattle and swine.
"As with past disasters, the agriculture community responded with a generous outpouring of hay, supplies and prayers," said Alabama Farmers Federation President Jimmy Parnell. "Through our Farm Bureau contacts and Cattlemen's Associations in affected states, we determined cash donations were the most needed and efficient way for us to help. By working with trustworthy, grassroots organizations, we provided direct assistance to those in need without creating additional transportation and logistics issues related to delivering feed and fencing materials."
The Alabama Farmers Agriculture Foundation, along with the Federation and Alfa Foundation, matched $25,000 from county Farmers Federations for the project, which ended March 31. Fifty-two of Alabama’s 67 county Farmers Federations donated to the fund.
Some ranches and families affected by the fire included those visited by Federation members during the 2016 Beef Tour in Kansas.
"It was heartbreaking to see reports and hear from wildfire victims who hosted our group less than a year ago, especially knowing many of the cattle we saw perished in the same pastures we walked through," said Federation Beef Division Director Nate Jaeger. "It's been encouraging to see the generous gifts from our farmers and those across the country. I echo the sentiments of many that we only wish we could do more."