According to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, 1,100 cattle have died since the fire sparked over two weeks ago, with numbers expected to rise.
The devastation has prompted the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association to invite President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence to visit Oklahoma to survey the damage caused by the wildfires.
In the letter, it stated that reports from cattle producers on the ground have revealed that losses have far exceeded the damage caused by the wildfires in 2017. Total numbers of livestock fatalities from this year’s wildfire could not be confirmed, however, until winds subsided and the fires were under control.
Last year’s wildfire swept through 200,000 acres across the north-western region of Oklahoma and killed more than 3,000 cattle.
The two associations said the trip from the President and Vice President would be “a welcome sign of support” for those farmers and ranchers affected.
Speaking to GlobalMeatNews, executive vice president for the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association Michael Kelsey said some farmers and ranchers had lost everything.
“The devastation had been widespread and yet very individual,” said Kelsey. “The number of individuals impacted by these fires is high. Some have lost everything – their homes, cattle, fencing, barns, grass, etc. Some were not touched yet have dropped everything to help their neighbours who were affected.”
Kelsey added they were set to donate funds for farmers and ranchers that had been negatively affected for facilities needed to raise cattle and aimed to exceed last year’s fund of $1.4m.
“The recovery will be long-term. Facilities – fencing, barns, etc – will have to be rebuilt,” Kelsey added. “Much of the grassland will take a season to recover, the range in last year’s fire further north is only just recovering.”