NORTH TEXAS (CBS11) – Ranchers say people aren’t aware of an economic disaster looming for ranchers in the scorched Texas Panhandle.
The grass to feed their cattle is gone. Hay is in high demand and North Texas ranchers are trying to get donated hay up there.
Jim Kelley gets emotional when he thinks about fellow ranchers facing disaster in the Panhandle.
More than 400,000 acres are scorched.
Entire herds are left without land to graze and stocks of hay are in ashes.
“It literally just torched the ground. And some of this ground will be sterile for a year or two,” Kelley said. “Because it was simply that hot that it killed all the grass seed and everything there.”
Kelley went online Tuesday to ask people to donate hay to ship to the panhandle. So far, ranchers have pledged 2,500 bales.
“That sounds like a lot of hay. But what people don’t realize is that one of these big rolls will last 10 cows only a couple of days,” Kelley said. “So it will go pretty fast.”
Kelley says the panhandle ranchers need far more if they have any hopes of survival.
“Hay, feed, medical supplies, fencing. There’s going to be thousands of miles of fence that has to be replaced,” Kelley said.
Finding help on that scale is a daunting task. But the reason Kelley is trying – and the reason he is emotional about it is because he cares.
“I care because these people would do the same for me if the shoe was on the other foot,” Kelley said fighting back tears.