Ag Alert Update: Agricultural losses from Camp Fire will take time to assess


By Kevin Hecteman

As the Camp Fire continues to ravage Butte County, farmers and ranchers are pulling together relief efforts for people and animals displaced by the deadliest and most destructive blaze in the state's recorded history.

Efforts continue to assess the agricultural impact of the fire. Butte County Farm Bureau Executive Director Colleen Cecil said its effects appear to be focused mainly on ranchers who have lost winter feed for their animals and fencing; some beekeeping operations and orchards may have been affected, as well.

Steers and horses evacuated from the Camp Fire are being cared for at the Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley. The Butte County Farm Bureau and Butte Agriculture Foundation have created a fund to help feed, house and maintain displaced livestock being cared for at the fairgrounds. Photo/Kevin Hecteman

"Cattle ranchers are resilient," she said. "They've called each other. They have this network, and they've texted each other and helped each other."

Cecil said the area around Paradise—the town all but destroyed by the fire—is not agriculturally intensive but that displaced animals will need help.

The Butte Agriculture Foundation and county Farm Bureau have launched the Camp Fire Animal Agriculture Assistance Fund in response.

"All of those animals at the fairgrounds that once had a pen or a corral behind a house in Paradise don't have that pen or corral anymore," Cecil said.

With nearly 10,000 homes destroyed by the fire, those animals will need new homes, she added.

"That process is going to take a while," Cecil said, noting "amazing generosity" in donations of feed and hay.

"Maybe with this fund, we'll be able to help to extend that for as long as it needs to be extended," she said.

Donations to the Animal Agriculture Assistance Fund may be made at https://donorbox.org/camp-fire-animal-agriculture-assistance-fund.

The California Farm Bureau Federation, through its affiliate California Bountiful Foundation, has established a Farm and Rural Disaster Relief Fund. The fund will collect donations to aid communities affected by natural disasters. Donations can be made at https://squareup.com/store/california-bountiful-foundation.

The Colusa County Farm Bureau is collecting children's books to distribute to families whose homes have been devastated by wildfire. For more information, call the Colusa County Farm Bureau office at 530-458-5130 or email Executive Director Melodie Johnson at melodie@colusafarmbureau.com.

Nationwide Insurance, the exclusive insurance provider of the California Farm Bureau, said affected Nationwide or Allied Insurance customers may report a claim day or night by callingĀ 1-800-421-3535.

A listing of disaster relief programs and contacts may be found on the CFBF website at http://www.cfbf.com/wildfireaid.

(Kevin Hecteman is an assistant editor of Ag Alert. He may be contacted at khecteman@cfbf.com.)

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.