Clay County Rancher Affected By Recent Wildfires Picks Up the Pieces

Finding help is what many ranchers recently affected by the wildfires need.  Even though its been a few weeks since the fire storm ripped through some communities, some ranchers are still in the beginning stages of dealing with the clean up.

Its been a difficult past few weeks for rancher Steve Taylor but with the help of family, friends, and the Farm Service Agency of Clay County, his days are getting better.  Taylor owns around 900 acres of land off F. M. 2393 in Jolly.  He lost about half of his property when the Jolly fire hit on April 15th.

Steve Taylor has been a rancher all his life and taking over the nearly 900 acres of property after his father passed away was an honor.  Its a large piece of land that's been in his family for 30 years.  The ranch holds so many memories for Steve and now those include vivid flashbacks of sirens and roaring fires.

Steve says a friend called him on April 15th when the fire struck and he stood helplessly on his land while the fire burned.  Steve says, "there is not much you can do, you just need to wait on the fire trucks and the bulldozers, and some of this country you can't get into it very well, you just wait till the fire comes out of it."

Steve's primary income comes from his ranch.  He has 100 cows and 80 calves along with the fields of wheat he produces. The F. M. 2393 fire burned almost 600 acres of his property, killing half of his land.  Steve says he dose not know what to do.  He might have to move some cattle or sell some cattle to get by.

Now Steve is in the beginning stages of clean up. He did not lose any cattle in the wildfires, but he did lose most of the land these cattle use to graze on. He also lost a few miles of fencing.  Steve is working with the Farm Service Agency of Clay County and is hopeful that he will get some help.

Steve is most concerned about getting his cattle fed.  He usually sells his calves when they get around 500 pounds each.  Now with the majority of his grass being gone, the primary source of food for his cattle, his only hope at this point is to pray for rain so his grass can start growing again.

Just in Clay County alone 20,000 acres were burned.  There are many other ranchers out there that need all the help they can get. If you would like to donate anything, from money to hay bales, contact your local Farmer Service Agency.

Natalie Garcia,  Newschannel 6