Farmers and ranchers across the country have donated more than $500,000 to the Drovers/Farm Journal Foundation Million Dollar Wildfire Relief Challenge, pushing the partnership with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation more than half way to its goal in just six weeks. The Buffet Foundation has generously agreed to match, dollar-for-dollar, all monetary donations up to $1 million.
The goal of the Challenge is to raise at least $1 million, to be matched by the Buffett Foundation with another $1 million, to help ranchers affected by the devastating March wildfires rebuild what they lost, particularly fencing. The fires burned 1.6 million acres in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado, leaving thousands of miles of fence burned or damaged, among other things. By June 2, more than 1,100 donations had been made online and by mail, from 46 states, totaling more than $514,000. Many donations were accompanied by handwritten notes of support, well-wishes and gratitude, reflecting the generous spirit of American farming country.
Rebuilding efforts are underway, but the road ahead is long and arduous. More than 1.6 million acres of pasture will require special attention to forage type, grazing pressure and rainfall; an estimated 18,000 miles of fencing needs to be replaced at a cost of up to $10,000 a mile; and thousands of cows will need to be added back to herds across the High Plains.
“We are proud to dedicate our efforts and resources to this very worthwhile fund,” said Charlene Finck, Chief Content Officer of Farm Journal Media and President of the Farm Journal Foundation. “Drovers and Farm Journal are here to serve the American farming community, no matter the shape or form.”
All donations will be administered through the Working Ranch Cowboys Association, a respected national nonprofit dedicated to assisting working ranch cowboys and their families in times of need. To learn more and to track wildfire relief efforts and keep up to date on the ranchers’ continuing story, visit www.WildfireReliefFund.org.