After assessing damages from fire, a Kansas rancher says “we lost it all”

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After assessing damages from fire, a Kansas rancher says “we lost it all”

Photo courtesy of Kansas rancher Ethan Dickerson

A Kansas rancher continues to pick up the pieces following the recent wildfires that swept through the state.  Ethan Dickerson ranches with his family near Paradise, Kansas.  “We lost almost 200 head of cows over 4,000 bales of hay and 95% of our grass,” he says. 

And, Dickerson says while they aren’t in good shape, they’re grateful it isn’t worse.  “There’s a lot of guys around here that lost 80 to 90% of their cows,” he says. “And that’s their livelihood. They don’t have an outside job.  They run cows for a living. They farm for a living, they ranch for a living.”

He tells Brownfield he anticipates a big shift in cattle this winter.  “If I had to guess there’s probably going to be 20,000 head of cows that leave this area that lived through it,” he says.  “But they’re going to leave the area for somewhere else for the winter at least.”

Dickerson says recovery and relief efforts are underway and will be ongoing for some time.  “The Kansas Livestock Association has set up a few different outlets and they’re trying to coordinate some stuff to get some feed and hay back in this country,” he says.  “And our local extension districts has kind of stepped up and coordinated more locally.”

He says the state Department of Ag is working to lift trucking restrictions and the state Natural Resources Conservation Service is working to have grazing restrictions lifted in an effort to provide farmers and ranchers more flexibility in their time of need.

AUDIO: Ethan Dickerson, Kansas rancher

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