As I wrote the headline for this post, I wondered if people would think I was overstating things but as I reread the prompter for this post, I feel certain the person who contacted me truly is desperate for good ideas. She was searching the internet for help and found my blog post on how some Wisconsin farmers were sending hay to Oklahoma and Texas to assist drought ravaged farms. I want to let the message/comment speak for itself but I know I have lots to add after it:
I just saw this article as I was searching the internet for any type of drought relief. We have approximately 80 dorper sheep, boer goats, and nubian goats. We are trying our best to not have to sell them all because of the drought. We are currently paying $150 for round bales and use at least 2 a month by carefully rationing it. I have found ads for round bales for $40-$60, but cannot afford to buy a whole load at one time and pay $2-3 per mile to get it down here (central Texas). Do you know of any kind of assistance we could get. We really don’t want to have to sell everything. Thanks
So the comment strikes me to my core. This farmer, likely considered a small farmer by most, with specialization in smaller livestock needs help. I’ve sent sent her a reply via email and hope to hear more from her but I feel I need to write this now. My reason for posting this to the blog is she hasn’t found solutions and she’s reaching out for help. I don’t mind telling you people I am in WAY OVER MY HEAD. But I am certain that the potential for solutions lies out there.
My assumption was there are other small farmers who are in a bind, particularly in the parts of Texas that have been hit by drought so deep that wildfires have ravaged by wildfires. The spring and summer have been historically dry and this is the time during which farmers in the area are usually able to pasture animals as well as cut hay for use over the winter.
While my first response is to pray for rain so it greens up this fall, we need more. We second thought was to touch base with Carrie, she’s been working hard and has multiple truckloads going down already. And Carrie said with the attention her drive has gotten, she gets at least one request for every bale of hay that is donated. They are from various farmers in different towns…. they are trying to keep their farms. She’s even had people show up to make the plea for family farms in person.
Seriously, this is a crisis.
There are people devastated by this drought worried they will lose everything… their very way of life as well as the future they have been building. Carrie and the community around her are doing their part but Texas & Oklahoma are not small states and there are probably thousands of communities that need help.
Some of the questions I have:
- Are there any non-profits who are trying to assist livestock farmers in the drought?
- Are there any government programs that can provide feed assistance in this emergency?
- How hard is it to break up loads?
- How far is hay needed to be trucked in?
- Are there cooperative efforts that could help small farmers find others to share a load of hay?
- How can we make transportation more affordable?
- Are there empty trucks headed toward Texas that feed could be loaded into? Services that organize that?