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Women In Ag: Agriculture Takes Care of Its Own

Agriculture takes care of its own.
 
Fires have devastated parts of Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Kansas. Thousands of livestock have been killed. Human lives have been lost, with at least four of those deaths a direct result of people trying to save livestock from the flames. Fences are destroyed, pastures are scorched, homes and barns have been reduced to ashes.
 
During and after the fires, my social media news feed has been filled with images of the destruction and loss. Stories about the people who lost their lives. Stories from farmers who found surviving livestock, only to have to put them down because the animals were too badly injured to survive. Stories of cows looking for their calves who perished. Stories of calves that are now orphans. Stories of the firefighters, many of them volunteers and some who are farmers, who fought the flames that also threatened their own homes. 
 
I didn’t see any of this on my local news. It wasn’t on the national news. The news spread from farmer to farmer, from community to community, from agriculture network to network. 
 
Agriculture takes care of its own.
 
It wasn’t long before my news feed was filled with photos of hay on the way to the devastated areas. Truckers are offering to haul hay or to move surviving livestock. People are opening their barns and pastures to house surviving animals. 4-H groups and veterinarians are housing and feeding orphaned calves.  Companies are offering free medicine to treat burned animals. Churches are putting together lists of people affected by the fire and their needs.   
 
One thread even focused on trucking laws so that those driving hay and other supplies to the areas hit would not be stopped and ticketed for their efforts.
 
Agriculture takes care of its own.
 
I didn’t grow up in agriculture. Four months after I started working as an agriculture Extension agent in 1999, Hurricane Floyd hit North Carolina. While I wasn’t in an area hit hard, I did have two cattle farmers with pastures bordering the river, and they were flooded. Days after the storm, donated hay was on the way to those farms.
 
Agriculture takes care of its own.
 
We see it again and again. Response to a blizzard, hurricane, tornado, or other natural disaster. Neighbors helping harvest the fields after a farmer’s death or so a farm family could mourn the loss of their child. Raising money to cover the funeral costs of young people who rode into the fire to try and save the lives of livestock. 
 
Agriculture takes care of its own. 
 
We are doing it without front-page coverage of this tragedy. Without being the lead item – or any item – on the evening news. Without a telethon with phones manned by celebrities. Without any aid from groups claiming to care about the welfare of animals. Without government assistance.
 
Agriculture takes cares of its own. 
 
There are many relief efforts under way. Please make sure the effort is legitimate before making a donation to any organization. You can find a list of some organizations taking fire relief donations at Fire Relief Donations.
 
 
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