Assistance needed for 20,000 displaced livestock in Texas

September 14, 2008 07:00 PM

An estimated 20,000 head of displaced cattle and horses in both Chambers and Jefferson counties in Texas are in immediate need of hay and fresh water resulting from Hurricane Ike's storm surge, livestock officials said Monday.

Contributions of hay, water troughs, feedstocks, such as range cubes, or cash contributions are needed in helping keep the cattle alive.

"We need water troughs, hay, feed, portable panels, assistance trailers for livestock (horses and cattle),” said Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia in a request to the State Operation Center. "These cattle and horses need care immediately so they don't die.”

Fences were destroyed and many of the cattle that survived the flood waters are now heading northward in search of fresh water and feed, said Tyler Fitzgerald, Texas AgriLife Extension Service agent in Chambers County.

"Fresh water is very hard to come by, especially since many of these sources have been overtaken by sea water as a result of the storm surge," he said.

White's Memorial Park at State Highway 61, south of Interstate 10 near Anahuac, is serving as the staging and distribution point for hay and feed resources. Many of the displaced cattle are in areas along State Highway 73.

Storm surges up to 20 feet caused flooding from Smith Point northward along FM 562 and FM 1985 east, destroying fences. Many cattle did not survive the storm, Fitzgerald said.

Round bales of hay have been dispersed along some farm-to-market roads where cattle are known to be displaced, he said.

Coordinating efforts are AgriLife Extension in cooperation with the Texas Animal Health Commission, Texas Department of Agriculture, Independent Cattleman's Association, Texas 2-1-1, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Southwest Cattleraisers Association, Governor's Division of Emergency Management State Operations Center and Chambers County officials.

To make a tax deductible cash or credit card donation call 979-845-2604 or go to and follow the prompts to "No Fences” Hurricane Ike Horse and Cattle Relief.

To make a donation of hay, feed, water troughs, transportation and other in kind donations, call the Texas Department of Agriculture's Hay Hotline 877-429-1998 or 1-800-835-5832 and press zero.

For questions or comments, e-mail the editors at Beef Today.

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