As of November 1, 2017 California was having record wildfires with more than 245,000 acres burned, an estimated 8,700 structures destroyed and at least 43 people killed according to Cal Fire. Santa Rosa, Sonoma County's largest city, lost entire neighborhoods to fires, approximately 3,000 homes and 23 of the dead are from this neighborhood. Orphan Grain Train is working with California’s Lutheran District to see what financial aid is needed for victims losing everything to the wildfires. We will be assisting the victims of fires in the Santa Rosa area with financial funding from OGT’s Domestic Disaster Fund. (11-2017)
Hay Delivery on its Way
OGT driver Mike Fink took these pictures while picking up a load of donated hay in Morris, MN for ranchers affected by the recent prairie fires in Haxtun, CO. Thank you to our donors!(4/2017)
The first load of pasture fencing was delivered to the Haxtun, CO region. The pallets of fencing were distributed among farmers whose fence lines were damaged by the recent prairie fires in Colorado. The families are appreciative of the quick response and the heartwarming gift of fencing. They are overwhelmed with the destruction and loss from the fire that this is one less thing to worry about. These donations are possible through the help and support of you, our donors and volunteers. Thank you! (3-2017)
Relief for Farmers from Prairie Fires
Recent prairie fires swept through large areas of Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado, and the results were disastrous. Buildings, homes, and pasture fences were destroyed and Orphan Grain Train can help. OGT is in the process of accepting semi-loads of donated hay as well as locating truckers with the proper equipment for hauling hay. As this portion of the relief effort takes shape, we will share the generously donated hay with those who lost their livestock forage because of the fires.
In order to help reduce the cost of rebuilding pasture fencing, Orphan Grain Train has already purchased two semi-trailer loads of high quality fencing. The first load of 22 pallets of pasture fencing arrived for the farmers affected by the prairie fires near Haxtun, CO. Each of the 22 pallets contains 27 rolls of fencing with each roll costing OGT $59.00. If you would like to help donate towards the cost of purchasing the pasture fencing for the farmers please make your checks payable to
Orphan Grain Train/Domestic Disaster
P.O. Box 1466
Norfolk, NE 68702.
You can also contribute to the Domestic Disaster by clicking on the Donate Now button. We appreciate your support of the relief efforts for the farmers that have lost so much in these tremendous prairie fires. The picture is of the prairie fencing being delivered to the Norfolk warehouse then loaded and transported to farmers in Haxtun, Colorado where a Cattleman’s association will be responsible for final distribution. The destination for the second load is Ashland, Kansas and will be distributed in a similar fashion. It is only through the generosity of our supporters that Orphan Grain Train is able to provide this much-needed relief. We are grateful.(3/2017)
Donate Hay for Cattle That Survived the Prairie Fires
OGT is assisting the families affected by the devastating prairie fires in Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado. One way we’re helping is by accepting semi-loads of donated hay as well as locating truckers with the proper equipment for hauling the hay. As this portion of the relief effort takes shape, we will share the generously donated hay with those who lost their livestock forage because of the fires. This morning the Mangels family loaded 42,000 lbs. of hay from their farm near Winside, NE to be delivered to Haxtun, CO to help the ranchers in that area. The Mangels have close ties with OGT, Karen Mangels works at OGT’s home office coordinating the international transportation shipments and the Mangels have a long history of volunteering and donating to OGT. Earlier today Chuck Baumert, an area rancher, donated another load of high quality hay which will soon be on a truck headed for Haxton. Thank you for your donations and time to help with the missions of OGT. Pictures are from loading hay at the Mangels farm.
Fire In the Hole
By Rev. Ray Wilke
Summer of 2012, Springview, Ne. The fire, black, yellow, green and orange, curled and snarked above our heads to a height of more than three hundred feet. We’d been in the canyon twenty miles west of Springview all morning looking for cows, our four-wheelers sometimes negotiating the steep walls of the canyon and sometimes not.
After several hours of searching, we finally came upon thirteen cows with their calves, grazing in a narrow patch of grass near a small stream that ran through the middle of the canyon. Thirty-seven cows with calves seemed to have disappeared in the fire that consumed the entire east wall of the canyon.
The front of the fire, now moving south and consuming all pines, cedars, grass, and a cabin in its path, was two miles south and seemed to be continuing in that direction. We drove to the plateau atop the canyon walls trying to assess the path of the fire, then made plans to move back into the canyon to try to rescue the cows and calves that we’d spotted. We were within one hundred yards of the cows when the inferno came hard upon us. Undetected, the wind had shifted toward the northwest and was driving the fire up the west wall of the canyon at a reported speed of thirty-five miles per hour. In two minutes it charged like a locomotive on fire directly upon us. Somebody hollered, “Let’s get out of here!” All four scooters revved with a single roar as we scampered up the canyon wall, the heat of the fire warming us from behind.
Atop the canyon wall, the young girls in our troop wept quietly as they watched the fire roar north, consuming the entire west wall of the canyon. They were certain that the cows they’d help calve out last March were now lying dead in the bottom of the canyon alongside their babies.
As we were leaving the area one of the ranchers asked if we’d help move five hundred cows with calves out of the path of the fire should it jump highway twelve and move into the refuge where the herd was huddled. Five separate herds had run together as they fled the fire. Now it threatened the section north of the highway. A half dozen scooters and pickups roared across the prairie as we attempted to move that massive herd of mixed cows east and out of harm’s way. Five gates and two miles later the cows settled down to await the whim of the fire. Sure enough, within half an hour, the fire, sparks flying aloft, did leap the highway and made its unwelcome way into the pasture where the big herd had formerly taken temporary refuge.
It was four days later when we got word that someone had spotted some black cows down in the scorched canyon. They were the ranchers whose cows we’d moved to safety. They went searching for our cows all morning Friday last. Then came the welcome news that they had found all fifty cows with calves at side, five miles up the scorched canyon. The cows had run ahead of the fire and moved onto the black fire-land as the fire drove northward. Two bulls came trailing after.
How moving to watch rough-hewn ranchers and ordinary town-folk work in total harmony against a common enemy. Water, food, hay, comfort, relief, a shoulder to cry on, whatever needed, there was someone at hand to lend a hand, and with a good-natured smile to boot.
As we were loading the cattle to haul them home I asked one of those magnificent fellows if there was anything they needed with which we might help. Without any hesitation at all they all chimed in, “We need posts and wire to fix the miles of fence that the fire ate.” So Orphan Grain Train is trying to put together semi loads of posts and barbed wire. We are able to get the best possible price by going directly to the manufacturer and then haul directly to the ranchers. It would be great if you could help.