Support from a variety of organizations is available for victims of the fires in Kansas

Support for victims of the massive fires in Clark and Comanche Counties is pouring into those hard hit areas.

Feed for livestock is a top priority. Kansas Livestock Association has been working since the fires broke out Monday, March 6 to organize deliveries of feed to the affected areas, said Scarlett Hagins, KLA communications program manager.

Farmers lost grass and their hay supplies to the fires that burned two thirds of Clark County or from 350,000 to 400,000 acres. Next door, Comanche County lost 151,000 acres. As of March 9, 626,000 acres had burned in 23 Kansas Counties and not all had been completely contained, Hagins said.

Most of the land burned is grass and pasture land. Plus, the fire also burned up feed supplies so producers need something to feed the surviving livestock.

The typical cow eats about two percent of their body weight per day and that is about 28-32 pounds of hay or forage per day per cow, said Kansas State University beef systems specialist Justin Waggoner.

Waggoner said some byproduct feedstuff or supplement may be fed in addition to the feed to meet energy and protein requirements.

The response from people willing to help and ship hay has been overwhelming, Hagins said.

As donations come in, KLA is working hard to match the donations with the need. Anyone wanting to donate feed or other supplies should contact KLA at 785-273-5115 for go to their website at KLA.org. Cash donations are also welcome and every cent goes to farmers in need. Donations are tax deductible.

Besides feed, cattle also need water and the fire has damaged or destroyed water systems, Waggoner said.

Producers may have to haul water where systems have been damaged. And it takes a lot of water for a big herd. Waggoner said non-lactating cows need one gallon of water for every 100 pounds of body weight. So a 1,400 pound cow will need 10-14 gallons of water per day.

The need depends on the individual farm. Some producers have lost 80 percent of their herd. The total livestock loss will be difficult if not impossible to determine. Some cattle have wondered away and it's calving season so its difficult to get an accurate count on the number of livestock lost.

"Realistically, we will probably never know an exact numbers," Hagins said.

Besides feed, untold miles of fence has burned down. The KLA is taking calls from people wanting to donate fencing supplies but more is needed.

Farmers that lost homes and other buildings will need items to replace the things lost.

Many cattle were burned and died while some had to be put down.

One sad but necessary chore after the fire disaster is the disposal of dead livestock. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment encourages farmers who lost livestock to contact KDHE's Bureau of Waste Management to determine the safest and most effect means to dispose of carcasses. The Kansas Department of Agriculture works with KDHE on disposal and setting up and permitting on-site burial.

Farmers should contact Ken Powell, Compliance and Enforcement, Waste Reduction and Assistance Section Chief for the Bureau of Waste Management at 785-296-1121 or Ken.Powell@ks.gov.

Other contact numbers for assistance:

Hay delivery coordinator-Neal and Jeff Kay at Ashland Feed and seed. Call KLA at 785-273-5115 before heading out.

Receive or give help-Dr. Randall Spare at Ashland Veterinary Center 620-635-2641.

General information-Kansas Cattlemen's Association www.kansascattlemen.com

@GaleR_Tribune