Sharing abundance helps all of agriculture grow stronger | Agriculture

During the drought of 2012, some of our northern farm and ranch operations worked with southern U.S. producers to ship cattle here for grazing and feeding.A similar situation could be developing again following wildfires.The Palmer Drought Index shows a lot of green areas across the top tier of the United States. Parts of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Iowa, Wisconsin, Idaho and Washington all had a designation of “Extremely Moist” as of March 18.At the other end of the spectrum, central and southwestern Montana, southwestern South Dakota, eastern Wyoming and southeastern Colorado were designated as “Extreme Drought.”Even more extreme, areas of Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas lost grazing lands and more in March wildfires. As of March 10, 2017, more than 1.4 million acres had burned – almost 2,200 square miles, similar in size to 3-4 percent of North Dakota’s landmass.Many farmers and ranchers have witnessed wildfires – the strip of blazing orange that silhouettes the terrain against the night sky and the smoke that filters the daylight. There is fear that fires will come too close to buildings, homes or livestock. There is the work of fighting the fires.These fears came true to the south of us. March wildfires killed at least seven people, as well as thousands of cattle and animals. These lives can never be replaced.Homes, machinery and equipment were also lost, but these items can be purchased.If there is enough moisture, the soil is rejuvenated through wildfires. The greenness of the grass that comes up through the char is beautiful. Life goes on.For the livestock that survived, hay was sent south from farmers and ranchers. The states also took care of their own – the Kansas Livestock Association organized hay and fencing material that was delivered to the affected areas in Kansas. Donations of hay, feed,…

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