Gov. Laura Kelly met with farmers and ranchers in Osborne, Russell, and other counties that sustained damage to their livestock, crops, and homes during the mid-December wildfires.
“While our farmers and ranchers have always persevered through challenges, we know the storm and wildfires caused significant damage,” the governor said. “It’s critical that we mobilize all of the available resources to aid their recovery.”
Kelly was in Kansas with Mike Beam, Kansas Department of Agriculture secretary for Wednesday’s meeting on rebuilding hosted by the Kansas Farm Bureau in Natoma and the Kansas Livestock Association.
The increased threat of wildfires as a result the drought in central Kansas led to the governor declaring a disaster emergency on December 9. Kelly ordered the Kansas Forest Service and Kansas National Guard to respond in the wake a powerful storm that caused wildfires to erupt on December 15.
The weather event was called “a derecho”, which can be described as a series of storms that exceed 240 miles in length and have wind gusts of at most 58 mph. Many highways were closed in western Kansas due to blowing dust and strong winds during the storm.
Kelly endorsed a Kansas Legislature proposal for a special sales tax exemption to purchase supplies required to rebuild burnt fencing. In Kansas, the temporary tax exemption has been used in the past to help rebuild fences after large wildfires.
The Kansas Forest Service estimates that wildfires affected approximately 165,000 acres on December 15. Preliminary estimates of acres burned were higher.
“We are also grateful to see the tremendous volume of hay and monetary donations that have come in from outside this region and from other states as well,” Beam said. “It’s heartwarming to witness how neighbors have pulled together to help each other during these times of need.”
Information about recovery resources for farmers and ranchers, including mental health resources, can be found on agriculture department’s website.
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Source: Successful Farming