Willie Nelson, Farm Aid seek help for farmers, ranchers hit hard by recent wildfires

A black Angus cow walks amid charred grass on Garth Gardiner’s ranch outside Ashland, Kan., March 17, 2017. Nick Oxford/The New York Times

More than 750 square miles of the Texas Panhandle — as well as wide swaths of Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas — were burned by wildfires earlier this month. The blazes killed at least a half-dozen people and injured firefighters near Amarillo.

But the wildfires also were devastating to the livelihoods of many in the farming and ranching communities that populate the region. In Texas, officials are citing at least $21 million in agricultural damages, including lost pastureland and fencing and livestock losses in the thousands.

Now Willie Nelson and Farm Aid — the charitable organization he helped create — are stepping forward to help.

Farm Aid is providing financial assistance to these farmers and ranchers through its Family Farm Disaster Fund. “Prior to the fires, these farmers and ranchers were hard at work growing food and fiber for our country,” Farm Aid says. “Their recovery is essential for the health and vitality of America’s rural communities.”

On Twitter, and on his website, Willie has asked his fans to donate to help support farmers and ranchers.

David Crockett rides the scorched prairie of Franklin Ranch searching for injured cattle after wildfires raced across Gray County, Texas driven by 50 mph winds. Michael Schumacher/The Amarillo Globe News

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