The recent wildfires that swept through the Texas Panhandle have left a trail of devastation, impacting countless lives and livelihoods. It’s more important than ever to rally together and support our local farmers who have been severely affected by the fires.

The wildfires, which erupted on February 26, 2024, have ravaged vast stretches of land, leaving behind a landscape scarred by flames. Communities have been displaced, homes destroyed, and livestock lost (Associated Press). The road to recovery will be long and challenging, but with our collective support, we can help our farmers rebuild and restore their livelihoods. 

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, along with local and state resources, is spearheading relief efforts to assist the residents of the Texas Panhandle. They are working tirelessly to coordinate aid and provide essential supplies to those in need. As part of their efforts, they are calling for donations of hay, feed, fence supplies, cow feed, and wildlife feed to support farmers in rebuilding their operations. For more information on how you can donate supplies or volunteer your time to assist with wildfire relief efforts, please contact the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service at (806) 354-5800 from 8 am – 5 pm CST, or visit this webpage.

The USDA is opening a special disaster sign-up for $6 million in additional funding through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for producers in the Texas Panhandle who have been impacted by recent wildfires. Producers must submit applications to USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) by April 8th, 2024, to be considered for this funding opportunity. For more information, log on to the NRCS Texas website.

But support doesn’t stop there. We, as Texas consumers and neighbors, can also make a difference by shopping with local farmers and supporting our farmers markets. By purchasing fresh, locally grown produce, we not only support our farmers financially but also contribute to the resilience of our local food system. Let’s come together as a community to show our solidarity and support for those who feed us.

In addition to donating supplies and shopping locally, it’s important to prioritize the well-being of our farmers. Farming can be a high-stress career, and farmers need to have access to resources and support networks. If you or someone you know needs assistance, NCAT’s ATTRA Sustainable Agriculture program offers valuable resources to help farmers find the support they need to succeed.

In times of crisis, it’s heartening to see communities come together to support one another. Texas will continue to stand strong, shoulder to shoulder, as we rebuild and restore hope for a brighter future for farmers and communities alike.

Together, we can build back, better connected and more resilient than ever. 

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