In the spirit of agriculture, Northeast Nebraska is lending a helping hand to those affected by the deadly wildfires.
Greg Meyer, a Creighton graduate, along with Jesse Rader, an Orchard and owner of Rader Feed & Supply in Creighton - have set their sights on assisting various Kansas farmers/ranchers in response to the aftermath of the wildfires that broke out earlier this month. The wildfires spread across parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas.
Meyer and Rader are more specifically trying to bring relief to the Southern Central Kansas area. The numbers are estimated to be around an average of 500,000 acres burned and a loss of 500,000 head of cattle in Kansas alone. Between the aforementioned states, there were over a million and a half acres of pasture ground that were lost to the fire.
“I wanted to do something where I could go be a part of it and help out. We have some people lined up and some contacts down there that have put me in touch with farmers and ranchers that would accept the help and the fencing. We’re focusing mostly on the labor side of it. I want to bring as many materials as possible down there to help them out,” Meyer said.
Meyer and Rader put out the message on social media Wednesday evening and have already received an outpour of support as well as commitments to monetary donation and fencing supplies.
“Whatever they need...if they request it I’ll take it. This isn’t through a volunteer organization, we got a wild hair and decided to go. It turned out to be a pretty big deal already,” Meyer said.
The efforts by Meyer and Rader are being put on as a collaborational effort, with Rader Feed & Supply in Creighton being a drop-off point for supply and equipment donations.
“One of my friends called and asked me if he could donate. I thought that since we’re here all day long, we might as well have this as a drop off location for supplies. Hopefully the farmers and ranchers around the area are willing to help. I’ve been telling people that if they have steel fence posts that they aren’t using, that would be a great thing to donate. Anything is better than nothing,” Rader said.
“I think that the agriculture community is a tight group of people, no matter where you’re at. I just want to make sure everyone gets good recognition for what they donated. I want to give businesses good advertising that helped out with this.” Meyer added.
The two, along with other workers being lined up to help, plan on leaving March 31. They plan to spend the weekend assisting farmers and ranchers with the various tasks that have stemmed from the disastrous fires.
“I come from a small family farm...It has to be devastating for those people to lose everything they have, including the herds they’ve built up for years. Some of the big ranchers have had the same cattle for several years and raised them. There were people who sacrificed their life to try and save the livestock. There are people that died in this, and it’s saddening,” Rader said.
The death toll from the wildfires is estimated to be around six people.
“These people care more about their livestock than they do themselves. That is what they have and what they do. It’s just like any farm from around here where it was passed on from multiple generations. It took some of these people 50 plus years to build up what they had. A lot of these people lost their homes...everything. Despite that, they’re still concerned most about their cattle,” Meyer said.
“You can rebuild a house, you can’t just build a livestock operation overnight,” Rader added.
Supplies that would be most beneficial to donate include wood posts, corner posts, and anything in relation to fencing.
For any additional information on contributions and donations, contact either Greg Meyer at 402-394-5605 or Jesse Rader at 402-640-2678.