As livestock throughout Champaign County rest in dry pens awaiting their next meal or enjoy a day in the pasture, the same can’t be said for livestock stranded in high waters and scavenging for food in flood-ravaged southeast Texas.
To help the agricultural community in the Texas Gulf Coast recover from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, a group of Champaign County residents started a livestock relief effort.
Brad Yost, of rural Urbana, who is helping event coordinators Chad and Vicki Hall with the outreach effort, said the Halls, also of rural Urbana, decided to lend a hand after reading a Facebook post from a member of the Southeast Texas Independent Cattlemen’s Association. The post stated farmers and ranchers in the six-county area serviced by the association are in desperate need of food, especially hay, and veterinary medical supplies for all sorts of livestock.
Yost, who works with Mr. Hall at the City of Urbana Water Reclamation Facility, said after hearing what the Halls were doing, he quickly offered his assistance.
“We are just trying to help out our fellow Americans, because that is what America is all about,” he said. “The farmers down there really need our help.”
The situation is so bad, he added, it’s a challenge just to feed livestock even when food is available.
“They are either feeding livestock by boat or helicopter,” Yost said. “They are dropping hay from the sky in some cases just to feed these animals.”
Many cattle are found to be in need of medical attention once rescuers get to them.
“They are in the process of rescuing animals, which is why they are in need of medical supplies for livestock, as well,” Yost said.
Help is on the way
What started out as a livestock relief effort among Champaign County residents has grown to include residents from Logan and Clark counties.
As of Thursday afternoon, the group had secured four semitrailers, fuel for the trip and four drivers willing to make the 1,100-mile trek to southeast Texas. Yost and Mr. Hall are two of the drivers scheduled to make the 16-and-a-half-hour trip.
Prior to departing on Sunday afternoon, the group will work toward filling all four semitrailers with hay, feed and veterinary medical supplies for the livestock of southeast Texas.
Donations can be dropped off after 9 a.m. today and Saturday at the Heritage Cooperative sites in Urbana, 304 Bloomfield Ave., and West Liberty, 420 Runkle St.
Anyone with questions can contact Mr. Hall at 937-869-6703 or Yost at 937-508-9434.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.