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Photo courtesy Hoover Volunteer Fire Department

Texas Ag Commissioner Calls on Texans to Help Neighbors in Panhandle Impacted by Wildfires

AUSTIN — Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller Wednesday joined Texans everywhere in offering prayers and support for our neighbors in the Panhandle who have been affected by wildfires. The fires have had a devastating effect on farmers, ranchers and livestock.

“This is an awful natural disaster, and so many of our friends have lost livestock, feed, equipment, homes, and in some very sad cases, even their lives,” Commissioner Miller said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those families, and here at the Texas Department of Agriculture, we are doing all we can to help those who’ve been affected by this disaster. I’d like to personally express my condolences to the families who have lost loved ones. Your friends and neighbors in agriculture are praying for you.”

For those interested in showing their support for farmers and ranchers affected by disasters like this one, Commissioner Miller is encouraging Texans across the state to donate to the State of Texas Agriculture Relief (STAR) Fund.

Managed by the Texas Department of Agriculture (TDA), the STAR Fund provides emergency assistance to Texas farmers and ranchers affected by disasters like the wildfires that have burned more than 400,000 acres across several counties in the Panhandle. Funded exclusively by private donations, STAR funds are often used to rebuild fences vital to livestock businesses, restore operations and pay for other agricultural disaster relief.

“Farmers and ranchers know we can’t control Mother Nature, but we can offer a hand to those in need,” Commissioner Miller said. “I ask all Texans who have the means to assist their neighbors by making a contribution to the STAR Fund. Our neighbors sure thank you, and I thank you as well.”

More information on the TDA’s STAR Fund program can be found here.

In addition to the privately-funded STAR program, TDA also administers the Disaster Relief and Urgent Need Fund. Federally funded through the Texas Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, the disaster relief fund provides grant assistance to eligible communities to help alleviate the effects of natural disasters such as flooding or wildfires through debris removal, infrastructure repairs and other improvements.

A webinar is being held tomorrow, Thursday, March 9 at 10 a.m. to assist communities in preparing applications for the 2017 Disaster Relief Fund. To register for this webinar, click here.

General information on the Disaster Relief and Urgent Need Fund, including specific agency contacts, can be found here.

 

TDA also oversees the Hay Hotline to facilitate buying or selling hay statewide. Those interested in making a hay donation for disaster relief can go here for more information.

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