Farm Progress America, May 17, 2024

Mike Pearson takes a look at a report published by Texas A&M University looking at the Smokehouse Creek Fire and the cost behind it.

May 17, 2024

Mike Pearson examines the cost left behind by the wildfires earlier this year, the largest of them was the Smokehouse Creek Fire in the Texas panhandle.

The wildfire burned an area double the size of Rhode Island, it's the largest in Texas history.

A report out from Texas A&M University Extension shows it is also the most expensive wildfire disaster in Texas history.

A breakdown in the report by Texas A&M University Extension shows the fire cost $123 million with $27 million related to livestock losses. So far, 12,000 cattle were found dead after the fire.

The loss of pasture for grazing added hundreds of thousands of dollars to the cost of the wildfire.

Fencing is also a big factor in the wildfire cost. Between 3,000 and 4,000 miles of fencing was destroyed in the flames. The next big cost is rebuilding the fence which has been difficult because of a lack of supplies available which has caused the cost to clime. It's costing between $3 and $4 per foot as costs climb for fencing.

Aide such as feed and hay and financial assistance has been made available to farmers and ranchers in the wildfire areas.

Plus, farmers from across the country went to work as soon as word got out to help provide ranchers with hay and fencing materials.

Farm Progress America is a daily look at key issues in agriculture. It is produced and presented by Mike Pearson, farm broadcaster and host of This Week in Agribusiness.

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