Oklahoma Cattlemen's Foundation's Jeff Jaronek Encourages Fire Victims to Apply for Funding ASAP!Fri, 28 Apr 2017 14:28:42 CDT
As the deadline to apply for relief funding from the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation Fire Relief Fund draws near, Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays invited OCF Coordinator Jeff Jaronek to visit him in studio this week to ask for an update of the relief efforts he has been managing since the outbreak of wildfires on March 6 across Northwestern Oklahoma. You can listen to that entire conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of this story.
“The Foundation has been going up there about two days a week and what we’re seeing right now is, the main focus is on fence; trying to get the old burnt fence torn out and trying to get some new fence in place,” Jaronek reported. “It’s starting to green up a little bit, especially on the outskirts of the fire - kind of the bottomlands. Those sandhills though… they’re struggling. They need some rain.”
While the scene there may still look and feel like a disaster area, which it most certainly is, Jaronek reassures that attitudes and spirits both are being lifted with every rain shower that comes through. But, also, he says the unexpected generosity from our neighbors in the state and out has been the key source of hope for the farmers and ranchers affected. According to Jaronek, the Foundation’s fundraising efforts have greatly exceeded expectations.
“We were just ecstatic to get $100,00… $200,000 and it has just grown since then,” he said. “Right now, we’re setting between $1 and $1.1 million, but we have surpassed the $1 million mark and it’s still growing.”
Likewise, the in-kind donations of hay, feed, fencing supplies and volunteer help has come into the state in droves as well. Jaronek is hesitant to even assign a dollar value to the amount of supplies that has been donated. But even so, dealing with the sheer magnitude of the devastation, Jaronek says there is still a lot of work to be done.
“Everybody’s loss is different and every loss is significant to that individual or family,” Jaronek said. “A million dollars sounds like a lot but when we’re considering the amount of damage, the amount of devastation - a million dollars just doesn’t go very far.”
Nonetheless, Jaronek and the Foundation want to help as many victims of the fires as possible. The deadline to apply is coming up May 1st and he strongly encourages all farmers and ranchers affected, regardless the size of loss, to apply as soon as possible. The Foundation’s goal is to have money in the hands of those who apply by June 6, just 90 days since the fires first broke out.
“If guys don’t fill those out, we don’t know they exist, so we can’t send them a check for funds,” he said. “We really need them to get that sent in to us.”
You can find a copy of the application on the OCF website, or visit your local extension office to have one printed. Jaronek says the application is only one page and is very simple to complete. To submit it, you can email it or mail it, as long as it is postmarked by May 1.
Jaronek will join Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays for his weekly In the Field segment on KWTV News9 in the Oklahoma City area on Saturday morning at 6:40 a.m.
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