Sauk County farmers help farms devastated by wildfires

Sauk County farmers help farms devastated by wildfires

A wildfire that ripped through parts of Kansas, Colorado, Texas and Oklahoma hit the agriculture community hard. More than 1 million acres burned, and three ranchers died trying to save their livestock. A group of local farmers in Sauk City are trying to help.

Here in the heartland, farming really isn’t a job; it’s a way of life.

“I was born and raised on a local farm here,” said Joe Keller. “I own and operate a farm of about 800 acres.”

That is why the devastation in the cattle farming dominated Clark county Kansas, hit Keller so close to home.

“Over 85 percent of the county burned,” Keller said. “I can’t fathom what it was like.”

He set out to help by creating Fences Among Friends.

“I don’t know one of them, but they are my friends because they are fellow farmers,” Keller said.

The small group of farmers led by Keller is not only trying to do something good, but something big. Over the next three weeks they plan to raise $25,000 to buy metal and wood posts, and barbed wire. All to rebuild 10 miles of fencing that burned down in the wildfires. Agricultural equipment store McFarlanes is storing gear and selling it at cost.

“Livestock, you can’t just let it run wild. You have to get fences when they’re destroyed,” Bob Gil, a safety manager at McFarlanes, said. “This will help the farmers get back on their feet.”

Soon, all of it will be shipped to two states away, but the meaning of it all will stay right in the heart.

“I farm, they farm. Hopefully if I ever have a need, someone will help me out.”

Donations are being accepted at Eagle Valley Ag, Rainbow Floral, Wyttenbach Meats and McFarlanes. Or call Keller at 608-963-2408.