By Kay Ledbetter, firstname.lastname@example.org
AMARILLO (March 20, 2017) – The truckloads of hay have slowed, and producers affected by wildfires are beginning to get some perspective on the damage done and the path forward, so Livestock Supply Points in three counties will begin winding down, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service officials. Danny Nusser, AgriLife Extension regional program leader in Amarillo, said each county has a plan to bring the efforts of volunteers and donors to a close at the Livestock Supply Points opened March 7 in response to wildfires that burned 480,000 acres across the Texas Panhandle.
The purpose of the Livestock Supply Point is to give producers affected by the fires a window of time to assess their situation and their cattle’s needs and be able to feed their cattle for a time before they have to make a decision on what to do with them,” Nusser said. “Typically that time is three to four weeks to provide feed and hay for those animals. In the coming weeks, we will be bringing those to an end.”
The Livestock Supply Points are located at the Clyde Carruth Pavilion, 301 Bull Barn Drive in Pampa; Canadian AH&N Ranch Supply, 100 Hackberry Trail in Canadian; and Lipscomb County Show Facility, 202 W. Main St. in Lipscomb.
“There are supplies still available for people affected by the fires to come pick up if they need them and we begin clearing those supply points out,” Nusser said. “The people who have been helping volunteer at those locations are beginning to go back to school and to work, and we won’t have the help available after this week.
“Also, we have had tremendous support from businesses that supply feed and hay as their livelihoods, and we are not trying to compete with them, so we need to allow them to get back to normal,” he said.
Nusser said the AgriLife Extension agents now will begin shifting into recovery mode and schedule meetings in the near future to advise producers on long-term recovery.
Mike Jeffcoat, AgriLife Extension agent in Gray County and coordinator of the supply point in Pampa, said they will continue to run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through the week and will suspend daily operations March 24. After that, supplies will be loaded by appointment only by calling 806-669-8033.
Jeffcoat said donations in Pampa included about 4,000 round bales, 785 large square bales and 1,300 small squares of hay, as well as about 700 rolls of wire and 5,000 t-posts, 130 tons of cubes and 31,450 pounds of different kinds of animal feed.
About one-third of the hay has been delivered and half of the feed, he said. Some was sent to help neighboring ranches as far west as Amarillo, as far east as Shamrock and as far north as Laverne, Oklahoma.
“We had between 15 and 40 volunteers a day,” he said. “Those volunteers are who made this thing work. We so appreciate their time and efforts.”
Andy Holloway, AgriLife Extension agent in Hemphill County, said their supply point is still receiving semi-loads of feed, but they plan to close in the next three to four weeks.
“The things we have on hand will be dispersed by then, assuming we have no more fire,” Holloway said
Hemphill County had another fire March 19 that burned another section of land, he said.
“We have about 700 big round bales of hay left, out of about 2,800 rolls that have been donated,” he said. “We’ve sent that hay either directly to our producers or to one of two staging points throughout the county in the middle of the fire zone for producers to come get as needed.
“I think it will take several weeks to distribute what has been collected,” Holloway said. “But we are blessed. Our supply point is just south of our local feed store, and the owners have been the captains of my team, using their equipment. All that will be in place until we have this done.”
Holloway did say, however, that they will stop taking donations of materials and hay on March 24, although financial donations may continue to be accepted on behalf of affected ranchers.
J.R. Sprague, AgriLife Extension agent in Lipscomb County, said he, too, will be shutting down the receipt of supplies by March 24. Anything further should be scheduled through the county office at 806-862-4601.
Sprague estimated he has 80 tons of range cubes on hand that will be distributed until they are gone. He said fencing supplies are still short and in demand.
“Anything next week may have to be loaded and unloaded by the person picking it up,” he said. “I’m not sure we’ll still have equipment here either.”
Sprague said 250 truckloads of round bales and square bales of hay have come through Lipscomb County, for more than 6,000 bales of hay. Additionally, he estimated he has handled more than 100 tons of range cubes, a ton of trace mineral blocks, four truckloads of protein tubs, some fencing materials and three pallets of milk replacer for the young calves that were abandoned and needing to be bottle fed.
“I’ve had volunteers show up from Springfield, Missouri, and throughout Texas, and many local volunteers, not only giving of their time and labor, but also their equipment,” Sprague said. “There’s been such a tremendous outpouring of support for all those involved in the fire.”
Monetary donations will continue to be taken at Lefors Credit Union in Lefors, Happy State Bank in Canadian and FirstBank Southwest – Booker Branch in Booker.
General questions about donations and relief efforts should be directed to Lori Martin at 806-677-5628.
For continuing needs, the Texas Department of Agriculture Hay Hotline, which helps agricultural producers locate forage and hay supplies for sale, can be accessed at www.gotexan.org/hayhotlinehome.aspx or by calling 877-429-1998.