Hearing and seeing photos of the first-hand accounts from friends and other ranchers in the fire areas of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado just breaks my heart. Being in Iowa, I feel so helpless to those who could really use some help, even if it were just a hug.
Yes, I've seen devastation from tornadoes, hail, wind, ice and even structure fires, but I just can't imagine the feeling of helplessness these people have felt in the past few days. As I did cattle chores this morning, I looked out from the south side of our farm and realized how fortunate I am to be here. I have seen many beautiful places and hope I see many more, but this one will always be my favorite view—the one that takes my breath away. I certainly cannot imagine losing this sight.
The cattle that roam the pens and pastures on our Century Farm are many miles away from those suffering from the fires, and this certainly makes me feel fortunate, but it also makes me understand that those farmers and ranchers are dealing with something unimaginable. I've had to have animals euthanized, but only one at a time and because of old age or injury. The fire stricken producers are riding their land counting animals burned to death and others that are not dead, but have to be euthanized.
The numbers are unbelievable. It has been reported that over one million acres have burned—460,000 acres in Kansas, 400,000 acres in Oklahoma, 325,000 acres in Texas and 30,000 acres in Colorado. To put that in perspective for my Iowa readers, there is 306,000 acres of farmland in my home county of Dallas County.
The numbers are not yet totaled from the loss of cattle, hogs, sheep and horses in these areas. And the loss of human life is seven, the last I heard. This includes a beautiful young couple in Texas who were trying to save their cattle. I have to say that I can understand why they were trying to save their livelihood. I'm sure I would do the same.
I don't have much to offer for my friends and the ranchers in this area, but I can send prayers...prayers for their loss, prayers for healing, prayers for rebuilding and prayers for rain.
I just can't imagine.