Support announced for wildfire relief efforts

Chris Boyd of Isabel, Kansas sent these photos of hay being delivered to support farmers and ranches in the Medicine Lodge area.

MANHATTAN, Kansas – Firefighters, aided by rain and snow in the region, have made significant headway in controlling the Anderson Creek Fire in Barber and Comanche counties. Farm, ranch and industry organizations including Kansas Farm Bureau and the Kansas Livestock Association are focusing their efforts on how to assist farmers and ranchers who have been affected by the largest wildfire in Kansas history.

The fire has burned approximately 300,000 acres in southcentral Kansas, taking numerous homes, outbuildings, many miles of fence and an unknown number of cattle. Most fences were destroyed in the fire, leaving wire lying on the ground where wooden posts were burned. Ranchers in the area continue tending to the feed and health needs of surviving cattle, many of whom are suffering from respiratory problems due to smoke inhalation, according to producers and veterinarians. Some were directly injured by fire.

Kansas Farm Bureau has created a fire relief site for those impacted and those willing to help. The site, www.kfb.org/firerelief, will connect those donating supplies like fencing, building materials and labor to those in need. This site will enable Farm Bureau to help ensure the resources can be implemented efficiently. Local contacts include Jennifer Theurer in Comanche County, who can be reached at 620-440-9059, and Zel Polf in Barber County, whose contact number is 620-886-3316. Contacts at Kansas Farm Bureau include Nancy Brown, 785-587-6111, and Serita Blankenship, 785-587-6150.

Anyone wishing to make direct contributions to the Kansas Farm Bureau Foundation may send them to Kansas Farm Bureau, 2627 KFB Plaza, Manhattan, KS 66503, with “fire relief efforts” noted in the memo. All funds collected will be split between impacted counties as directed by county Farm Bureaus.

The Kansas Livestock Association (KLA) has also been working to assist in relief efforts. Donations to the Kansas Livestock Foundation (KLF) will help to meet the needs of ranchers affected by the wildfire. Funds generated will be used for fencing supplies, animal health efforts and other needs identified by KLA leadership in Barber and Comanche counties. Donations are tax deductible and can be sent to KLF at 6031 S.W. 37th, Topeka, KS 66614. Specify the check is for “disaster relief” in the memo line. Online contributions can be made at http://www.kla.org/donationform.aspx.

Several members are generously donating proceeds from the sale of animals to KLF for disaster relief. A heifer donated by KLA President Elect David Clawson and Clawson Ranch Partnership will be sold Thursday (3/31) at Pratt Livestock to generate funds for the relief effort through KLF. The heifer will be re-sold several times. In addition, KW Cattle Company will donate proceeds to KLF from the sale of lot 21, an Angus bull. The bull will sell Tuesday (3/29) at the KW sale near Fort Scott. For more information on the bull, go to www.kwcattle.com.

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