Farmers, ranchers and agribusinesses across the country have donated more than $640,000 to the Drovers/Farm Journal Foundation Million Dollar Wildfire Relief Challenge to benefit ranchers, pushing the partnership with the Howard G. Buffett Foundation more than half way to its goal. In May, the Buffett Foundation generously agreed to match, dollar-for-dollar, all monetary donations made by July 31 up to $1 million.
The goal of the Challenge is to raise at least $2 million, including the match by the Buffett Foundation, to help ranchers affected by the devastating March wildfires rebuild what they lost, particularly fencing. The fires burned 1.6 million acres in Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado, leaving thousands of miles of fence burned or damaged, among other things. By June 29, donations had been made online and by mail, from 46 states. Many donations were accompanied by handwritten notes of support, well-wishes and gratitude, reflecting the generous spirit of American farming country.
“We are grateful for the outpouring of support to date and we’re working hard to meet the full challenge. This is a rare opportunity to double the magnitude of assistance to ranchers—and we’re hopeful that all of agriculture will pull together to meet the challenge by the July 31 deadline,” said Charlene Finck, Chief Content Officer of Farm Journal Media and President of the Farm Journal Foundation.
Rebuilding efforts are underway, but the road ahead is long and arduous. More than 1.6 million acres of pasture will require special attention to forage type, grazing pressure and rainfall; an estimated 18,000 miles of fencing needs to be replaced at a cost of up to $10,000 a mile; and thousands of cows will need to be added back to herds across the High Plains.
“It is great to see that our matching contribution pledge is helping inspire others to show their support for ranchers who are working hard to rebuild what the wildfires destroyed,” said Howard G. Buffett, Chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation, and part of the ranching community in southeast Arizona. “We look forward to matching these funds and bringing additional aid to the ongoing recovery efforts.”
All donations will be administered through the Working Ranch Cowboys Association Foundation, a respected national nonprofit dedicated to assisting working ranch cowboys and their families in times of need. To learn more and to track wildfire relief efforts and keep up to date on the ranchers’ continuing story, visit www.WildfireReliefFund.org.
About the Howard G. Buffett Foundation
The Howard G. Buffett Foundation has committed over $1 billion since its inception in 1999 to catalyze transformational change to improve the world and the lives of the most impoverished and marginalized populations. We see the Foundation’s resources as the rare risk capital that can be deployed to create change in even the most difficult of circumstances. We invest our funding in three main areas: global food security; conflict mitigation; and public safety.
Drovers, the trusted information partner to farmers and ranchers since 1873, has unprecedented reach across the industry delivered through the multi-media platforms of Farm Journal Media. Our print magazine reaches 250,000 cattlemen, the largest coverage of any
national cattle magazine, while the Drovers brand delivers daily news and market information on Drovers.com, newsletters, CattleExchange, AgriTalk radio and AgDay TV.
About Farm Journal Foundation
The Farm Journal Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that works with U.S. farmers, ranchers and next generation populations to inform and engage national level policymakers on the important role that the United States can and should play in addressing global food security.
About the Working Ranch Cowboys Association Foundation
The Working Ranch Cowboys Association is headquartered in Amarillo, TX. The mission of WRCA is to promote ranching and to preserve the lifestyle of the working rancher and the working ranch cowboy. In 2001, WRCA formed a 501c3 foundation with the mission of providing financial assistance to working ranch cowboys and their families through scholarship funding and crisis assistance. The WRCA Foundation has provided over $3.5 million in financial support to ranching families since its inception. The 2017 school year will see 38 youth on scholarship which is the largest number in the history of the foundation. Crisis can happen anywhere at any time and the foundation is here all year long to provide support to the ranching community.