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Ag losses during spring Texas wildfires total $123 million

Ag losses during spring Texas wildfires total 3 million

Blair Fannin of Texas A&M AgriLife reported Monday that “Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service economists predict the Panhandle wildfires have caused $123 million in preliminary agricultural losses, making this the most expensive on record.”

According to economists, the losses include more than 12,000 livestock deaths, lost pasture values ​​and fence repair costs.” Fannin reported. “Initial loss estimates range from February to mid-March.”

Fannin reported that economists estimated a loss of $68.7 million for farm infrastructure, fences, barns, corrals, well pump motors and windmills, supplies of hay or feed. They estimate that $26 million is lost in long-term grazing in fire-damaged pastures and rangelands, and in short-term emergency feeding. Finally, they estimate that there is $27 million in livestock losses due to wildfires. Livestock loss estimates include both cows and estimated losses for the season’s calf crop. Another $1 million in miscellaneous losses includes the costs of disposing of deceased animals and forced marketing losses.

Additionally, Jayme Lozano Carver of the Texas Tribune reported in early May that “hundreds of water sources were also destroyed as the fires raged through the Panhandle. According to the report, this has eliminated water sources for people and livestock in the region, creating a new hurdle to overcome.”

“These loss estimates will likely continue to rise as more details emerge, as wildfire risks remain high this spring,” said David Anderson, Ph.D., livestock marketing economist at AgriLife Extension, Bryan-College Station, Fannin said.

Map of recent wildfires in the Texas Panhandle. Thanks to the National Wildfire Coordination Group.
The fires

Alex Driggars of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reported last Sunday that “the Smokehouse Creek Fire – Texas’ largest wildfire ever – the Windy Deuce Fire and several other fires ignited on February 26 and burned for weeks until they were fully contained in mid-March. contributed to the deaths of three people and 15,000 livestock, destroying 138 homes and businesses and scorching more than a million acres in the Texas Panhandle.”

According to the Texas Standard, the Smokehouse Creek Fire alone burned nearly 1.1 million acres.

Lozano Carver reported that “a decayed utility pole that snapped, causing live wires to fall onto dry grass in the Texas Panhandle, sparked the largest wildfire in state history, a Texas House committee confirmed Wednesday.”

“The committee also found that a lack of readily available air support, ineffective communication of faulty equipment, and interagency coordination hampered on-the-ground efforts to contain the Smokehouse Creek fire and other fires that devastated the Panhandle earlier this year,” reported Lozano Carver. .

Disaster relief

Fannin reported that “Texans affected by the wildfires are encouraged to file property damage claims using the Individual State of Texas Assessment Tool, iSTAT, Damage Surveys. This will help government officials identify resource needs. The U.S. Small Business Administration has approved Governor Greg Abbott’s request for disaster declarations in Texas communities affected by the Panhandle wildfires. Applicants can apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information, and download applications at sba.gov/disaster.”

Additionally, Lozano Carver reported in another article on Monday that “U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and U.S. Representative Ronny Jackson, both Republicans, are pushing legislation that would provide additional financial support to farmers who have lost an inordinate amount of unborn livestock in a disaster. It could help those in the Texas Panhandle trying to recover from devastating wildfires that killed more than 15,000 livestock, including pregnant cows.”

“The proposed legislation would add an additional payment rate for unborn livestock to what is already in place with the Livestock Indemnity Program,” Lozano Carver reported. “The payment amount is capped at 85% of the market value for the lowest weight class of the animal. The amount will also be determined based on the type of livestock and the average number of babies the animal typically produces.”