Fire and ice: surviving the effects of natural disasters

Natural disasters are simply a part of making a living from the land. But don’t dismiss the toll such events can take beyond burned pastures and buildings.

Burt Rutherford, Senior Editor

April 18, 2018

2 Min Read
Fire and ice: surviving the effects of natural disasters
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Once again, my thoughts turn to the land and people I came to know and love during the 30 years I lived in the Texas Panhandle. Drought and wildfires have returned again to the Southern Plains and, having lived through a number of such events, it could be easy for me to simply say that’s the way things go in that part of the world.

Likewise with the Xanto blizzard that slammed the northern portions of this great country. Natural disasters—drought, blizzards, wildfires, hurricanes, tornadoes—are simply a part of what making a living from the land is all about.

But I can’t. I can’t simply dismiss the human side of what a natural disaster does.

That’s why BEEF and Purdue University did a three-part series last year with the Beef Roundtable. These videos are an in-depth look at the 2017 wildfires that scorched much of the same country that’s burning today.

If you have been affected by the fires, blizzards and hurricanes of the past few years, or are a survivor of an earlier natural disaster, I encourage you to watch these videos. The experts who gave their time to offer their knowledge and expertise did so because they want to help. Here are the links:

Part 1: 2017 wildfires show why ranchers are the best people on earth

Part 2: Picking up the pieces—How ranchers can deal with the emotional after-effects of natural disasters

Part 3: Natural disasters happen. Here’s how you can deal with them

They’re a bit long, but well worth the investment of time and bandwidth. Check ‘em out. And if you know someone who would benefit from watching, please pass these links along. 

Just as in past disasters, Oklahoma ranchers need some help. Ranchers in Oklahoma who are affected by the current fires are in need of hay and other supplies. The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation has established a fire relief fund. Monetary donations can be made online or by sending a check to OCF at P.O. Box 82395, Oklahoma City, OK. Write "fire relief" in the memo line on the check. For those interested in donating hay, call (405) 496-9329, (405) 397-7912 or (405) 590-0106.


About the Author(s)

Burt Rutherford

Senior Editor, BEEF Magazine

Burt Rutherford is director of content and senior editor of BEEF. He has nearly 40 years’ experience communicating about the beef industry. A Colorado native and graduate of Colorado State University with a degree in agricultural journalism, he now works from his home base in Colorado. He worked as communications director for the North American Limousin Foundation and editor of the Western Livestock Journal before spending 21 years as communications director for the Texas Cattle Feeders Association. He works to keep BEEF readers informed of trends and production practices to bolster the bottom line.

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