Livingston Countians on Thursday sent a truckload of hedge posts and spools of fencing wire to fire-ravaged Kansas, where ranchers lost pasture land and suffered significant cattle losses.
Livingston Countians on Thursday sent a truckload of hedge posts and spools of fencing wire to fire-ravaged Kansas, where ranchers lost pasture land and suffered significant cattle losses. The specific destination of the local truckload was Ashland, Kan., in Clark County, where fires charred about 70 percent of the county. Grass fires in early March burned an estimated 651,576 acres across Kansas. In Clark County, alone, 461,000 acres burned. Cattle loss is estimated between 5,000 and 6,000 in Kansas as a result of the fires, said Catherine Horner, a spokesperson for the Kansas Adjutant General’s Department. “It is possible it could be much higher,” she said. “We will never have an exact count.” The devastation created by the wildfires hits close to home for Sherry Jones, a Livingston County cattle rancher and president of the Livingston County Farm Bureau. “These folks lost everything,” she said. “They lost cattle. They lost the genetics of the cattle in their herd. No amount of money will take care of everything that was lost. But, it is important to get fencing up and take care of the cattle they still have and keep their operation going.” The Livingston County Farm Bureau is coordinating the local relief effort for Kansas ranchers. Jones said it was an easy decision for the local Farm Bureau to get involved. “This could be us right here, in Livingston County,” she said. “We have seen how fires can get out of hand. It could have been any one of us. We feel like this is something we need to do for our neighbors out west.” Transportation was arranged and donated through MFA, Inc., and Seth Dobson Trucking. “Lots of people have stepped up and are willing to help,” Jones said. “We want to thank Chillicothe MFA Agri-Services for helping facilitate the effort and serve as a drop-off point. We also want to thank T&R Soil Service for helping provide supplies, and also numerous individuals for their contributions.” Monetary contributions and donations of supplies are still be accepted. For more information about donating, contact the Livingston County Farm Bureau at 660-646-6644. Another truck will be shipped out once filled with needed items. Jones said the plan is to collect fencing items and, perhaps, hay. “We are definitely going to have another truck go out as soon as we can fill one,” she said Friday. Individuals can stop by MFA Agri-Service or contact the local Farm Bureau to determine what ways to donate best fit their needs. Jones said that Kansas ranchers were using hay as it came in, but they also needed fencing supplies to contain the cattle. “We put together purchased hedge posts, wiring and secured a truck,” she said. “We have had quite a bit of interest.” Ashland, located in southwest Kansas, is about 450 miles from Chillicothe. “It is such a devastation,” she said. “They are part of production agriculture. As a rural community, we need to be there for them. They would do the same for us.”