NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – As people and livestock continue to be kept away from their homes and resources burn from the Hermit’s Peak-Calf Canyon fire. Now, others are stepping in to ease the impact on New Mexico livestock.
As devastation continues in northern New Mexico, a big part of livelihood in the state is in danger. Jeff Witte and the entire New Mexico Department of Agriculture are focused on farmers across the state. Some of which are seeing their hard-earned properties turned to ash.
“It’s been challenging, we’ve got a number of fires across the state and on the agriculture side we’ve been working hard to make sure our ranchers and farmers are prepared,” said Witte. “You can never prepare to lose your entire forage crop.”
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There are programs to help after the fire but in the meantime fellow New Mexicans are stepping up. “Ranchers from other areas have offered up their land we’ve got shelters a number of shelters up across the burned areas,” said Witte.
Over the years they’ve been able to perfect their emergency response plans. “You know they were ready when the first flame started we started the process of identifying shelters, appropriate shelters,” said Witte.
There are still concerns over scammers. There have been reports of scammers going to areas being evacuated and telling people there they have land for the animals to go but when the owners show up, their livestock is nowhere to be found. “They have a dedicated team that are looking at all of those cases and as soon as they see one the investigators are looking into those issues,” said Witte.
Another concern is making sure all the displaced livestock has enough feed. “This is not the season, we don’t have hay being cut it’s just starting to be harvested right now,” said Witte.
That means everything being donated by farmers is from their own personal “rainy day” savings. During a time when they are already struggling with drought conditions. “Hay that they had in storage, hay that other farmers and ranchers need for themselves,” said Witte.
Making it work so everyone can make it through to another season. “You know farmers and ranchers are resilient,” said Witte.