don’t want it, but we are going to need it.”
I am so proud of the people of my state who have come in with that help before they were even asked.
I have been in contact with all of our producer groups in Kansas -- the Kansas Livestock Association -- Kansas Farm Bureau, who, along with our state agencies, have been leading in the volunteer relief effort. I commend them for their efforts in collecting hay for cattle as well as monetary donations and volunteer coordination for repairs to property and fencing.
We have also been in touch with USDA in regards to assistance that should be available to farmers and ranchers in counties that have suffered loses. These programs include primarily the Emergency Conservation Program, the Livestock Indemnity Program, and EQIP, the Environmental Quality Incentives Program.
Clean-up is underway. Kansas is a bootstrap state. It is not just about building new fencing. We have families who have lost the farmhouse and all of the equipment they need to rebuild. Many livestock producers have had the gruesome task of euthanizing cattle that have been badly burned. We have to remove the carcasses. We have to find land for the survivors to graze.
And we have a lot of uncertainty. How long will it take the grasses to come back? When can we get rain to avoid a dustbowl? It is all too soon to tell.
But, we have been through disasters before. Almost one year ago we had the Anderson Creek Fire and we have come through tornadoes and ice storms.
Recovery from disasters of this magnitude requires us to cut through the red tape. It requires getting the right information to producers so that they know how to apply for aid.
And yes, it requires us to look at our programs to see where we can improve them.
While this fire has not received much attention in the national media, I want to commend members of the press in Kansas. Photographer Bo Rader of the Wichita Eagle took this photo of my State Director Chad Tenpenny and I walking through rangeland outside of Ashland. The Wichita Eagle has gone out of their way to show the world what this fire looks like to real people.
The Hutchinson News, High Plains Journal and the Dodge City Globe have all told and are telling this story.
The same is true for the TV and Radio crews who have helped get the news of town evacuations and safety notices to our people. This is what they do.
Rest assured, as Chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, I am committed to the Kansans I serve. I know Clark County and the other 20 Kansas counties will come back. We will ensure they get the help they need. Ad astra per aspera, to the stars through difficulty. It is not just a motto, it is who we are.