Before the Starbuck Wildfire was even extinguished, donations of cash began flowing into several foundations that would help those affected. At a public meeting in Ashland. Kansas, March 22, ranchers in Clark and surrounding counties—the hardest hit by the Starbuck Fire—learned how some of those funds would be distributed. 

The Kansas Livestock Foundation, administered by the Kansas Livestock Association, has about $750,000 in donations thus far, according to Matt Teagarden, chief executive officer of the KLA. All proceeds will be distributed to ranchers affected, Teagarden said. Recipients do not need to be members of the KLA. 

Ranchers affected need to complete a one-page application (available on the organization’s website, www.kla.org), and a review board will determine how the funds are parsed out. There is a May 15 deadline for application and funds will be distributed as quickly as possible thereafter, he said.

“It is a significant amount of money, but there are significant losses. Our goal is to help provide cash flow for those who are in need,” Teagarden said. 

 

Sales tax relief

Teagarden added that March 22, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed House Bill 2387, which provides a sales tax exemption for supplies to rebuild fences damaged or destroyed after the Starbuck Wildfire. The bill is retroactive to include fence already built, and will cover fence building efforts through 2018. Exemption forms are available at www.kla.org

 

Ashland Community Foundation

There are two programs available through the Ashland Community Foundation to help Clark County residents rebuild their business or their homes, according to Bill Shaw, president of the foundation’s board of directors. 

The one-page application form, available online at www.ashlandcf.com, has an option for both housing and ranchers. May 1 is the deadline for housing applications, while the deadline for ranchers is June 1. Funds will be reviewed and distributed as fairly and quickly as possible after those dates, Shaw said. 

The foundation is making funds available to all Clark County residents, he added. 

 

Farm Bureau assistance

Kansas Farm Bureau has fielded offers from dozens of individuals and groups offering to provide hay, mineral supplements and fencing supplies, and manpower to assist those affected by fire, said Ryan Flickner, senior director of public policy at Kansas Farm Bureau. To date, 22 Young Farmer and Rancher chapters in other states have reached out to help. 

“Don’t hesitate to reach out to your county Farm Bureau folks if you need help,” Flickner said. Those who are interested in accepting or donating materials or manpower can visit www.kfb.org. 

Bill Spiegel can be reached at bspiegel@hpj.com or 785-587-7796.

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