Oklahoma Ranchers, Hay Producers Help Creek County Fire Victims

Friday, August 10th 2012, 6:05 pm

By: Craig Day

Oklahoma ranchers and hay producers are stepping up to help Creek County fire victims worried about how they're going to feed their livestock.

In an area were ranchers and farmers were already reeling from two years of dry conditions, the Creek County wildfires have now taken things from terrible to horrible.

"All the hay fields burned, and what little rain we had, there wasn't that much anyway," said Creek County resident Virginia Wagoner.

Wagoner picked up a donated round bale of hay Friday. She said the need in the fire zone is desperate.

"They have absolutely nothing to eat, there's no—unless they're eating the trees, and most of them burned, too," Wagoner said.

8/9/2012 Related Story: Green Country FFA Chapters Sell Produce To Raise Money For Fire Victims

The OSU extension office in Creek County near Kellyville is coordinating donors with fire victims who need hay.

"Won't be able to replace everything that was lost, but at least get some hay out there where these cattle are walking through ashes and they can have something to eat," Sherman Grubb, and OSU extension agent said.

Several dozen round bales were donated by an area rancher, who wanted to help other livestock owners.

Organizers said there are even more generous Oklahomans statewide willing to donate hay, but they also need truck drivers who can go to pick it up, and deliver it.

While the hay drive is underway at the fairgrounds, efforts are also happening to reunite lost livestock with their owners.

"People have found cattle that have been strayed five or six miles from where they originally started from," said Bob Pruitt of the Olive FFA chapter.

Olive's FFA chapter is coordinating a livestock lost and found list.

"We have cattle that have been put in pastures just to get them off highways, and we need to get them back to owners," Pruitt said.

The chapter has already been successful matching some animals with owners.

The hay drive is making progress, too.

Folks like Wagoner are grateful.

"You know, Oklahoma pulls together and helps each other," Wagoner said. "It just makes me cry, it's just been awesome, the outpouring. It's just been wonderful."

Anyone who needs hay, or wants to donate or volunteer to help with transportation can contact the OSU extension office in Creek County at 918-224-2192.


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