Texans donate to help Nebraskans facing disaster recovery

By Julie Tomascik

Texas farmers and ranchers are offering assistance to Nebraska farmers, ranchers and rural communities as they struggle to recover from the state’s devastating natural disasters last month.

Texas Farm Bureau donated $5,000 to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Relief Fund. McLennan County Farm Bureau also donated $5,000, and the TFB Young Farmer & Rancher program donated $1,042.

“The damage, suffering and heartache we felt during Hurricane Harvey is still fresh on our minds,” TFB President Russell Boening said. “We received an outpouring of support from other states, including Nebraska, as we were trying to recover. Now, it’s our turn to offer help as they begin to recover and rebuild.”

The bomb cyclone hit Nebraska in mid-March. Blizzard conditions brought snow, and torrential rainfall led to extreme flooding.

Damages to agriculture top $1 billion, leaving Nebraska’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities facing a tough road to recovery.

Agricultural losses include supplies of stored grain, livestock deaths and damages to equipment and barns, among others.

Early estimates showed more than $400 million in cow-calf losses and $440 million in crop losses, according to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture.

Increased transportation costs from infrastructure loss also dealt a devastating blow to the state’s feedlots.

The catastrophic damage has left some in need of help.

“Agriculture is a family,” Boening said. “Our neighbors are hurting. It’s not just a financial loss. It’s mentally and physically exhausting to face that kind of damage. Our thoughts and prayers are with those farmers, ranchers and rural communities of Nebraska.”

Reports show more than 80 of Nebraska’s 93 counties experienced a state of emergency declaration with historic flooding and devastating losses.

That’s why McLennan County Farm Bureau also wanted to donate to the relief fund.

“Anytime there’s a disaster, farmers stick together, and we wanted to support our fellow farmers by sending a donation to the relief fund,” Ronnie Dowdle, McLennan CFB president, said. “Those of us in agriculture, we’re likely to go through some kind of disaster during our farming career, and this is our way of helping out the farmers in Nebraska.”

During the TFB Young Farmer & Rancher Conference last month, Nebraska’s devastation was on the minds of young producers. The TFB Young Farmer & Rancher Advisory Committee collected donations from those in attendance.

“Nebraska farmers and ranchers are facing devastating losses,” TFB Young Farmer & Rancher Advisory Committee Chair Melody Kneupper said. “We know they are hurting and have a long, slow process to clean up and rebuild. We wanted Nebraskans to know we’re thinking about them and wish them the best as they recover.”

Other farmers from across the Lone Star State have also sent supplies.

Money donated to the disaster relief fund will be targeted to aid Nebraska farmers, ranchers and rural communities affected by recent storms and flooding. Priority will be given to efforts to restore health and safety in rural communities and to farm and ranch households that have been damaged or displaced by the natural disaster.

Nebraska Farm Bureau also opened the Agriculture Disaster Exchange portal. Like a “want ad” page, the portal provides a place for Farm Bureau members to seek and offer help, as well as share information during tough times.

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