State's Cattle Industry Hit Hard by Recent Flood- OCA's Michael Kelsey Says Relief Efforts UnderwayTue, 11 Jun 2019 12:21:25 CDT
For the last several years now Oklahoma’s beef cattle industry has been faced with some kind of major disruption stemming from a natural disaster. In the past, those disasters have come in the form of localized wildfires. This year in 2019 however, extensive flooding has manifested as the culprit behind yet another catastrophe. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays caught up with Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Executive Vice President Michael Kelsey to discuss the extent of the recent flooding’s impact on many of Oklahoma’s eastern counties and the producers operating there. According to Kelsey, while some of the challenges of flooding are similar to those caused by wildfire, the overall situation is a completely different animal. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“Flooding is so much different than wildfires. With wildfires, it burns and then it leaves you to assess what you need to get done - the fences you’ve lost, etc.,” Kesley said. “Flooding is completely different. We still have some folks who just haven’t been able to get back in.”
Many fields in the affected areas are still reportedly underwater. Kelsey says no official death losses have been recorded as of yet and probably will not be for some time. However, based on anecdotal testimony, many producers have sustained some significant losses. Fencing will be a major concern as waters recede but, in the meantime, producers with hay either under water or unreachable are fretting the potential loss of much needed forage as current hay supplies near depletion. In addition, flooding related complications in regard to infrastructure have caused problems for some operators as well - particularly for stockers. Some have reported missed marketing opportunities due to washed out roads and bridges that have prevented them from transporting cattle to sale barns.
“When you try to balance in the market volatility along with all this weather, it’s a really difficult time we’re having here in Oklahoma,” Kelsey remarked. “Now, all that being said - there’s a lot of grass out there and we know cattle do very well on grass. So, we’re trying to be optimistic. Flexibility is going to be the key and we are going to have to work and manage with what we have.”
The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation is actively accepting donations to help affected producers offset the damages that have been sustained, though the process is likely to be prolonged compared to past relief efforts geared toward victims of wildfires. With the lingering nature of the negative affects caused by flooding, the Foundation is allowing more time for victims to assess their personal damages and to apply for assistance. Those who wish to make a charitable donation to the Foundation’s relief fund, there are several ways to do so. Donors may contribute either by phone (405-235-4391) or via the Foundation’s website with credit cards or by mailing a check made out to the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Foundation (P.O. Box 82395, Oklahoma City, OK 73148) and designated in the memo for “flood relief.”
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