Rancher on fire: ‘We’re kind of just estimating that we lost over 500 cows’

Agriculture

ASHLAND, Kan. (KSNW) – Ranchers in Clark County are still learning how much they’ve lost in cattle.

“I’ve cried a lot of tears and tried to stay strong,” said Garth Gardiner, Kansas rancher.

Gardiner’s ranch in Clark County was hit hard by the fires.

About 80 percent of his 50,000 acres were burned in the fire, and he lost a third of his cattle.

“We’re kind of just estimating that we lost over 500 cows.”

For Gardiner, that is a massive loss — more than $600,000. Recovery will be tough.

“It’s kind of like being down 30 in a basketball game at halftime. You’re not going to get all those 30 points back in one possession. We’ve got to chip away at this.”

With his grazing land gone, he’s welcomed donations of hay for his surviving cattle.

“I don’t think you understand how close you are until you get a text from someone whose land and livelihood is burning up, and they ask do you need any help, and I’m like, ‘Seriously?'”

Gardiner said he’s fortunate that he hasn’t had to put down any of his cattle, unlike his brother and many other ranchers.

He’s now focused on saving his surviving livestock and finding strength where he can find it.

“This community is tough, and they’ll survive, and we’ll do it together.”


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