Calmer weather in store this week

Buffalo coop, extension overwhelmed with hay donation offers from far and wide

BUFFALO, Okla. – As land owners and ranchers start the unenviable process of taking account of their property, county cooperative and agriculture extension, officials say there are plenty of people willing to donate hay for the cattle that survived.

“We’re getting calls from all over,” said Darrell McBee, the OSU Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service agent for Harper County. “We’ve got Virginia, Illinois, Arkansas, wanting to donate.”

Massive wildfires Monday and Tuesday consumed more than 800,000 acres of land in three counties in Northwestern Oklahoma, killing an untold number of cattle.

Emergency management officials have said it’s too early to give numbers on cattle and structure losses because it wasn’t too long ago that smoke filled the skies.

“We’re starting today to go gather, to see where we’re at,” McBee said. “(But the ranchers) don’t really even know where they’re at right now.”

McBee and other extension agents say it’s extremely important farmers and ranchers document their cattle and property losses with photographs, no matter how gruesome the task can seem.

“Mentally super tough, for them,” McBee said of photographing the perished cattle. “And they probably won’t show it, as much as they’re hurting inside.”

Hay donations tremendous boost

Over at the Buffalo cooperative, Beverly Mings has a problem. Not that traffic has been slow – because it has – but that there are too many offers of hay from far-flung places and no easy way to get the feed to the farmers.

“Over by the Missouri line, (a gentleman) had one thousand bales to donate, but we just need somebody to go get those bales,” said Mings. “We’re having a hard time finding those people to go — to get that hay — and bring it to Buffalo, so people can come and get the hay as they need it.”

A number of places have been set up as hay drop-offs throughout Harper and Woodward Counties.

Click here to learn how you can make donations.