Riders on horseback, Urbana Fire Division units and the Urbana Police Division led a livestock relief convoy of four semi-trucks south through Monument Square on Sunday afternoon.
Well-wishers gathered to cheer on the locally-organized convoy, which is trucking hay relief to livestock in the Houston, Texas area. Livestock farmers in Texas are still struggling from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
Local trucking companies combined with dozens of local hay donors and the West Liberty-Salem Future Farmers of America (FFA) to load the trucks with supplies and send them on their way.
Livestock is 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 residual effects of Hurricane Harvey, a group of Champaign County residents started a livestock relief effort. Logan County residents also helped out.
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,” Yost told the Urbana Daily Citizen as the convoy organized last week. “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.
Four semi-truck drivers are making the 1,100-mile trip to Texas, which is expected to take more than 16 hours.