Farm Losses From Texas Wildfires Estimate $23.1 Million
The Texas wildfires that ripped through the Eastland Complex, parts of Panhandle County and Coryell county areas covering 433,000 acres resulted in preliminary agricultural loss estimates of $23.1 million, according to Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economists.
Losses include over 400 livestock deaths, loss of grazing values and fencing repair costs. Dry and windy conditions throughout the winter season and into early spring increased the threat of fire danger.
“AgriLife Extension continues its commitment to provide the necessary resources to landowners and ranchers to help recover from this tragic event,” said Rick Avery, Ph.D., director of AgriLife Extension, Bryan-College Station. “We appreciate the continued efforts of our dedicated agent network and industry partners. Texas agricultural producers are resilient, even though the damage to thousands of acres of pasture, livestock and infrastructure will last a long time.
“The Texas Division of Emergency Management will continue to support local officials’ response and recovery efforts following the devastating wildfires that affected the state this year,” said Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd. “I thank the hundreds of local and state first responders who worked around the clock to protect life and property from these wildfires. TDEM field staff will continue to support local partners in affected areas as these communities recover.
Preliminary estimates were calculated starting with the fires in early March and continuing through the end of April. AgriLife Extension economists say preliminary loss estimates could rise due to ongoing fire threats.
“Drought conditions only intensify the potential for further economic losses given the outlook for hay availability and associated feed costs,” said David Anderson, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension Livestock Economist. , Bryan-College Station.
AgriLife Extension has deployed its Disaster Assessment Recovery Officers along with its County Officers to set up animal supply points in the Eastland complex at Rising Star, Cross Plains and Gorman. Officers helped collect donations and distribute hay, animal feed and other resources. They also provided field support and damage assessment.
“Our disaster recovery agents have worked tirelessly to establish and operate animal supply points in key areas,” said Monty Dozier, Ph.D., AgriLife Extension Disaster Assessment Recovery Program Coordinator, Bryan-College Station. “Officers were working around the clock to coordinate the distribution of hundreds of round bales of hay, livestock and pet food, assisting with field assessments and livestock identification during this catastrophic event. Once again, we thank those in Texas and our out-of-state friends who donated during this critical time of need.
AgriLife extension, Texas A&M Forest Service and Texas Division of Emergency Managementall part of The Texas A&M University Systemprovided extensive support and response efforts throughout the wildfire that began in March.
During a seven-day period in late March, state, federal and local fire resources responded to 192 wildfires that burned 173,559 acres. More than 300 firefighters from the Texas A&M Forest Service and more than 200 firefighters from the Texas Intrastate Fire Mutual Aid System, along with firefighting personnel from 28 states, have been positioned statewide to respond.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency has approved low-interest physical loss loans to help producers repair or replace eligible damaged or destroyed physical assets. To confirm your eligibility and access application information, contact your local USDA service center.
The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved Governor Greg Abbott’s request for a disaster declaration in communities affected by the Eastland Complex Fire, unlocking access to several loan programs. Applicants can apply for loans, receive additional information on disaster relief and download apps online. Applicants may also call the SBA Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 or email [email protected] for more information about SBA disaster assistance.
Texans affected by the wildfires are encouraged to submit property damage to pity.tdem.texas.gov to help officials identify resource needs and determine the state’s eligibility for additional disaster assistance.