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Locals raise hay for southern ranchers

Hamsher and OCA looking to collect 1,000 tons.
Rylan Boggs

Blue Mountain Eagle

Published on March 28, 2017 5:40PM

Among several drivers from across the state bringing hay donations to John Day for cattle displaced by the Canyon Creek Complex fire were Jeremy Whittaker, left, Fred Hisaw and Shane Smith of Culver and Ken Miltenberger of Alfalfa. Organizer Jim Hamsher is working with the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association to provide feed for ranchers affected by fires  in the southern part of the country.

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Among several drivers from across the state bringing hay donations to John Day for cattle displaced by the Canyon Creek Complex fire were Jeremy Whittaker, left, Fred Hisaw and Shane Smith of Culver and Ken Miltenberger of Alfalfa. Organizer Jim Hamsher is working with the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association to provide feed for ranchers affected by fires in the southern part of the country.

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Mark McKinnon, left, of Whittaker Farms in Culver speaks with Jim Hamsher of Prairie City as a young helper waits during the Hay for John Day campaign following the Canyon Creek Complex fire. Organizer Jim Hamsher is working with the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association to provide feed for ranchers affected by fires  in the southern part of the country.

Eagle file photo

Mark McKinnon, left, of Whittaker Farms in Culver speaks with Jim Hamsher of Prairie City as a young helper waits during the Hay for John Day campaign following the Canyon Creek Complex fire. Organizer Jim Hamsher is working with the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association to provide feed for ranchers affected by fires in the southern part of the country.

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The Eagle/Rylan Boggs
Prairie City Mayor and Grant County Commissioner Jim Hamsher.

The Eagle/Rylan Boggs Prairie City Mayor and Grant County Commissioner Jim Hamsher.

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Prairie City Mayor and County Commissioner Jim Hamsher is working with the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association to supply ranchers affected by fire with feed for their cattle.

Hamsher said he is aiming to help collect 1,000 tons of hay to aid ranchers affected by massive fires in the southern part of the country.

“Record-breaking fires in Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas have resulted in loss of homes, livestock, feed, lost and injured livestock, and infrastructure,” a United States Department of Agriculture press release said.

He is working with the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association and using the Hay for John Day Facebook page to help organize donations. The page was created to help ranchers feed their animals in the wake of the Canyon Creek Complex fire and helped bring in nearly 1,000 tons of hay after the disaster.

Grant County rancher Alec Oliver said the Canyon Creek fire took out a lot of summer grazing land.

“It affected quite a few people,” he said of the fire, and the donated hay “definitely helped a lot of people that needed it.”

“We got donations as far as Colorado when we had our fire,” Hamsher said. “They tried to support us so we should try to help them out. It’s just one big ranching family.”

Southern ranchers are now facing a similar disaster.

The fires burned more than 2 million acres, killed at least seven people and thousands of livestock, according to Reuters.

“Recent wildfires have caused devastating losses for many farmers and ranchers in our state,” Farm Service Agency acting State Executive Director in Texas Erasmo Trevino said. “Over the past several years, wildfires have increased in severity, intensity, and cost as the fire season has grown longer.”

Ranchers have lost millions of dollars, large parts of their herds, houses and miles of fence to the fire, according to a video Hamsher is using to help solicit donations. The fire took place during calving, meaning the ranchers lost multiple generations of animals to the disaster.

They are looking at trucking the hay as far as Nevada.

Those interested can donate online through the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association’s website at orcattle.com.





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