With cattlemen in Southeast Texas and Louisiana still reeling, and assessing the damage, from Hurricane Ike’s landfall last weekend, BEEF magazine is amassing the latest coverage and info on recovery efforts at beefmagazine.com/natural-disaster/ike/.
According to Jason Cleere, Texas AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist, the most affected areas in Texas around Anahuac and Beaumont saw storm surges from 8-18 ft. “We don’t really have good numbers on actual death losses, but they appear to be substantial,” he says. Surviving cattle he saw were doing relatively well, considering what they had been through, he said.
A midweek survey of the hardest hit areas in Texas found some 15,000 cattle, says Andy Vestal with Texas AgriLife Extension. “This isn’t all the cattle expected to be found stranded or dead, but it’s a good start in locating these animals that are in dire need of assistance.”
“We need water troughs, hay, feed, portable panels, assistance trailers for livestock (horses and cattle),” says Chambers County (Anahuac) Judge Jimmy Silvia in a request to the State Operations Center. Fences are down and many cattle are drifting northward in search of feed and water, says Tyler Fitzgerald, Texas AgriLife Extension agent in Anahuac.
“Fresh water is very hard to come by, especially since many of these sources have been overtaken by sea water as a result of the storm surge," Fitzgerald says. Some round bales have already been dispersed along some county roads where cattle are known to be displaced, he adds.
White’s Memorial Park on State Highway 61, south of Interstate 10 near Anahuac, is serving as the staging and distribution point for hay and feed resources.
In addition, Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain has put out a call for donations of hay and feed. “There are thousands of cattle stranded by high water,” he says.
To make a tax-deductible cash or credit card donation for Texas cattlemen, call 979- 845-2604 or go to agrilifevents.tamu.edu and follow the prompts to “No Fences” Hurricane Ike Horse and Cattle relief. To make a donation of hay and feed, call the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Hay Hotline at 877- 429-1998 or 800- 835-5832 and press 0. To donate materials for fencing, panels, water troughs and other non-feed and non-cash items, contact Tim Niedecken at the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association at 800-242-7820, ext. 147.
In addition, tax-deducible donations for Louisiana and Texas cattlemen can be made through the National Cattlemen’s Foundation at www.nationalcattlemensfoundation.org. For hay and feed donations to Louisiana cattlemen, call the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Association at 225-343-3491.
The Texas Veterinary Medical Association Foundation is calling for assistance in buying fuel for generators they have delivered to veterinary clinics in the hardest-hit areas. Call 512-452-4224 for info.
For the latest info on recovery efforts from Hurricane Ike, go to beefmagazine.com/natural-disaster/ike/.