The Plains wildfires have devastated ranching communities, with millions of acres now standing barren and desolate.
The destruction and death that has been experienced from Colorado to Texas is heartbreaking, but you sure wouldn’t know anything is happening from the mainstream media. Apparently, hurting people in rural America aren’t worth mentioning on the evening news. There’s hardly been any coverage of these fires, but that’s OK, because agriculture takes care of its own.
It’s been reassuring, although not surprising, to see the agricultural industry support one another during this difficult time. Donations of hay, volunteer fencing help, meals, prayers, monetary fundraisers — the list goes on and on for the numerous ways folks have stepped up and helped their friends and neighbors.
Thankfully, the USDA saw it fit to help these ranchers, as well. On Tuesday, the USDA announced that it would be offering more than $6 million in funding to those impacted by the wildfires.
According to Kansas Agland, “The funding, delivered through USDA’s Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP), will assist farmers and ranchers as they attempt to restore grazing lands, rehabilitate devastated landscapes, rebuild fencing, and protect damaged watersheds.”
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) recently visited southern Kansas and told ranchers, “The availability of USDA conservation funds targeted toward restoring land impacted by the fires is appreciated. I have asked USDA to provide maximum flexibility in administering the federal assistance programs in response to the disaster, and will continue to make clear the urgent need for more immediate assistance to those impacted.”
If you are a rancher who has been affected by the wildfires, the USDA is encouraging folks to contact their local NRCS service centers. States will begin accepting applications soon.
In the meantime, check out the NRCS site for step-by-step assistance for filing for financial assistance through EQIP.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Penton Agriculture.