Watch CBS News

Donations being collected for ranchers devastated by Texas Panhandle wildfires

Donations being collected for Texas Panhandle ranchers
Donations being collected for Texas Panhandle ranchers 02:34

NORTH TEXAS - When Megan Russell heard about the massive wildfires in the Texas Panhandle, she said it hit home for her. 

"A lot of the ranches up there are generational," said Russell, whose family ranches and owns nearly a dozen feed and supply stores across North Texas. "They've been in families for hundreds of years, so to have it just scorched is devastating."

The Texas Panhandle wildfires have scorched thousands of acres and impacted countless ranchers. Texas Agriculture Commissioner Sid Miller predicts 10,000 cattle and animals will die or have to be euthanized. Now, there are renewed efforts to help the ranchers and cattle in desperate need of resources.  

As a result, all 11 Russell Feed & Supply stores are now allowing customers to come in and purchase bags of food to donate to the ranches. The stores will start loading and sending the supplies early next week. 

"Seeing just the instant response," said Russell, chief financial officer for the company. "It just restores your faith in humanity. This is what makes Texas so great in the agricultural industry, so great (that) whenever our neighbor needs us, we always step up."

Meanwhile, Morgan Broome is one of the founders of a local non-profit in Tarrant County called Ranchers Navy. The non-profit was founded after another devastating wildfire in Texas in 2022. The group works to help ranchers in need and has already sent nearly 40 trucks to the Panhandle. It's working to send more this weekend.

"We've spoken to some ranches that have lost everything," Broome said. "Unfortunately, we had somebody contact us to let us know that they had lost 800 head of horses."

Broome said little land or grass exists now to feed the remaining surviving cattle and animals. 

"When ranchland burns, that land won't grow again for another year," Broome said, "so that livestock will need to be fed for not just this weekend, not just this week, we will need to support that community for six months to a year."

Ranchers Navy has a donation fund established for ranchers and volunteer firefighters, as well as other links for drop off locations on their Facebook page:

The organization, Saving Hope, also is holding a drive in Fort Worth for animal supplies to take to the Panhandle to feed cats and dogs:

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.