By Julie Tomascik
Neighbors helping neighbors is common in Farm Bureau, but especially when devastation strikes.
That was the case when many ranchers in Glen Cove in Coleman County lost grazing, equipment and hay to a wildfire that burned about 8,100 acres in mid-March. They received an outpouring of support from Anderson County Farm Bureau members.
Donations of hay and cattle feed were trucked from Palestine to Glen Cove—roughly 265 miles apart.
“We put together 84 round bales of hay and six tons of range cubes, and our county board paid for the bill with some help from other Farm Bureau members in the county,” Ted Britton, Anderson County Farm Bureau president, said.
Much of Texas is in a drought and input costs for hay—fertilizer, equipment and herbicides—are high right now. But that didn’t stop Farm Bureau members from helping each other.
“All of a sudden, farmers and ranchers in Glen Cove needed help, and it showed up,” Keith Phillips, Coleman County Farm Bureau president, said. “This shows what kind of a family Texas Farm Bureau is. We’re just one big family here to help each other, especially now.”
The relationship between the two counties goes back to a recent Farm Bureau meeting that Britton and Phillips both attended, and they stayed in contact since then.
“I gave him a call to see if they were okay, if they were affected by the fires,” Britton said. “They weren’t, but he said a lot of their neighbors were, and he started telling me about the loss of homes, loss of cattle and loss of grazing. So, I asked him, ‘What do you need?’”
Phillips made some phone calls and relayed the needs to Britton—cattle feed and hay.
Anderson County Farm Bureau board members and individuals in and around Palestine jumped into action. Donations of hay, cattle feed and money to help finance the trip came pouring in.
“We hate that they had the fires, but we are glad that we could help them in their time of need,” Britton said.
Two different areas of Texas connected by helping hands, hearts and trailers.
“It’s difficult to recover from these fires but seeing other Farm Bureau friends ready to help those affected was truly something,” Philips said. “I have never experienced anything like this before, and I was proud to be a part of it.”
Texas Farm Bureau also established a wildfire relief fund. Tax-deductible, charitable donations can be made online at texasfarmbureau.org/wildfire-relief-fund. The funds will help farmers and ranchers with unreimbursed agricultural losses.
Applications for relief fund assistance will be accepted through May 31.