The dust has settled and the ashes have cleared after devastating fires swept through northwest Oklahoma and parts of Kansas, Texas and Colorado in early March. In the Oklahoma panhandle, farming and ranching families have begun to rebuild.
Farming and ranching families are often characterized by their resilience. Many of these families have been impacted by fire before, but growing crops and raising livestock is more than a career – it is a calling and a way of life. So, they have picked themselves up and dared to begin again.
While the pain of the devastation will be felt for years to come; spring rains, green grass and incredibly generous individuals and organizations have brought hope. Farming and ranching families will use that hope to carry them forward in their pursuit to produce food and fiber products for citizens across the country and around the world.
In the months after the fires, the Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation received donations from individuals, businesses and Farm Bureau organizations from Oklahoma and across the country to help the farming and ranching families who lost grazingland, fence, livestock, and equipment.
The Foundation worked closely with the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation and the other Foundations that received donations to ensure the funds were distributed to those in need.
In the immediate aftermath, the Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation issued fuel relief checks to individuals helping to transport hay to the affected areas. Following an application and review process, relief checks were issued to more than 70 farming and ranching families in Beaver, Harper and Woodward counties.
Those who gave so generously made it possible for the Oklahoma Farming and Ranching Foundation to support farming and ranching families as they continue to rebuild their herds, care for wounded livestock and replace hundreds of miles of fence.
Agriculture has shown yet again that in times of need, beauty rises from the ashes. Oklahoma agriculture will endure.