Ohio farmers sending relief to Kansas ranchers devastated by wildfires


BUCYRUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Wildfires in Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado scorched over a million acres earlier this month. The damages are still being calculated, but the losses have been devastating.

People have lost their homes and their lives. Cattle ranchers, in particular, have been hit hard. Their surviving calves are now orphans after thousands of cattle were killed or euthanized because of the fires.

Now, local farmers in Ohio are helping in their recovery effort.

“It’s neat to see farmers banding together to help each other,” said Rose Hartschuh from Bucyrus.

Hartschuh and her husband have a dairy farm. She said seeing other farmers suffer hit close to home and they wanted to do something to help.

They began their relief effort last week and have already received enormous support.

“We’re now up to about 30 truck-loads of hay that are going to be caravanning to Kansas, as well as other supplies like livestock feed and medication to help the injured cattle,” said Hartschuh.

She said the hay alone is worth about $50,000. They’ve also collected 7 tons of feed and 25 volunteers will spend several days in Kansas, helping ranchers get back on their feet.

“Agriculture is a really cool industry to be apart of because people take care of each other and so, it’s neat to see how this project has grown just because really believe in the same kind of values,” said Hartschuh.

Tami Burkhart’s family business is donating supplies too, including alfalfa seeds needed to replant the pastures that were burned in the fires.

“To know that it’s going to benefit many miles from here, that’s awesome,” said Burkhart. “We don’t know who they are, but we just felt like we wanted to reach out and help them.”

Hartschuh said people from 42 counties in Ohio have stepped up, willing to help.

“It’s something that word of mouth has just really spread and lots of people have said, ‘I want to be apart of that, I want to give back to someone else,’” she said.

Their caravan leaves early Friday morning for Kansas.

“We hope that this small outpouring will show them that there are people that care,” said Hartschuh.

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