2017-04-25 / Front Page

Planning help for burned out cattle country

By Mark Evans, 4-H Youth Development Educator

During the heat of the moment when fires seemed to envelop cattle country in eastern Colorado, Kansas, eastern New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas; numerous news stories about cattle losses and burned cattle made the news during mid- March. Reuters reported that the Kansas fires were the largest with nearly 1000 square miles when 631,000 acres burned. It is difficult to compare with perspective here in Indiana the wide-open space in Kansas. Locally on straight roads, if one considers driving one mile as the side of a square, that square (mile) would encompass 640 acres.

For some it evoked pride while for others it brought a tear to see the loads of hay that passed through Putnam County on I-70 in the days and weeks after the fires; all headed out west to provide help. That is how ranchers, farmers and producers typically roll … pitch in to help those in need.

Now that fires are out, national news reporters are long gone, and in some cases, landscapes are greening up again; the devastation left behind is still striking. For many, fences are gone and areas are burned beyond recognition. Numerous FFA and 4-H groups are helping while businesses and individuals also help. Some are making trips to help provide labor and/or haul supplies like water tanks, fence supplies etc. Others are working to pool funds and in-kind donations like fence posts, barbed wire, staples, and wire. It is staggering to consider that a mile of fence can easily cost more than $8,000 to construct and that there is roughly 100,000 miles of fence that needs rebuilt by most estimates.

Local 4-Her Ryan Sutherlin has had a great deal of heart while serving as a Putnam 4-H Junior Leader. When he expressed the desire to help western cattle ranchers impacted by the fires, the Junior Leader group became excited about the project and committed to seeking funds to purchase supplies while also looking for in-kind donations. Ryan has indicated that he is willing to receive in-kind donations that include: steel T posts six foot or longer, rolls of wire to be used as fasteners, etc. or actual fasteners, buckets of staples, and fence tools.

For those who would like to make a monetary donation, make checks payable to Putnam 4-H Junior Leaders and mail to Purdue Extension Putnam County, 12 Central Square, Greencastle, IN 46135. To discuss making arrangements for in-kind donations, please call the Extension office at 765-653-8411 and ask for Mark or Kim to discuss details. They will work to connect individuals to Ryan to facilitate deliveries.

Beyond collecting and delivering supplies, the Junior Leaders are hoping to help organize a trip where 4-Hers and parents as chaperones would go to work a few days building fence and working to restore an area. An interest meeting will occur at 7 pm at the Putnam County Farm Bureau, Inc. Indoor Arena on Monday, May 1 for those who would like to help in the relief efforts both locally and/or to apply for making a relief trip.

Visit our homepage at www.extension.purdue.edu/putnam or you can contact the local Purdue Extension Office by calling 765.653.8411 for more information regarding this week’s column topic or to RSVP for upcoming events. It is always best to make contact first to assure items are ready when you arrive and to RSVP for programs. While many publications are free, some do have a fee. Purdue University is an equal access/ equal opportunity institution. All times listed are Eastern Time.

Upcoming Events:

April 27 - Gardener Gatherings: Vegetable Gardening 101, Extension Office, 6:30-7:30 PM, Register at 765-653-8411

April 27 – Camp Counselor Training 4-H Camp, Fairgrounds, 5-8 pm

May 1 – Electricity Workshop for 4-Hers, Harris Hall, 6-8 pm

May 1 – Cattle Ranch Relief Effort Interest Meeting, PCFB Indoor Arena, Fgrds, 7 pm

May 2 – Putnam County Master Gardener Monthly Meeting

May 3 – Camp Counselor Training 4-H Camp, Fairgrounds, 5-8 pm

May 4 – Putnam 4-H Junior Leaders, Fairgrounds, 7-8 pm

May 11 - Gardener Gatherings: Composting & Soil Amendments, Extension Office, 6:30-7:30 PM, Register at 765-653-8411

May 13 – 3rd Annual Plant Auction sponsored by the Putnam Co. Master Gardeners, Fairgrounds, Auction starts at 10 AM

May 13 – Putnam 4-H Sheep/Goat Tag Retinal Scan, Fairgrounds, 8 am - Noon

May 15 – Livestock enrollment deadline for 4-H animals

June 13 – Electricity Workshop for 4-Hers, Harris Hall, 9 am – Noon

Return to top

Click here for digital edition
2017-04-25 digital edition