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Disaster relief station set up at Dawes County Fairgrounds in Chadron

In the northern parts of the Panhandle farmers and ranchers are dealing with flooding from the Niobrara and White Rivers and melting snow drifts are adding to the flooding.

In order to assist them, the Nebraska Extension and the Chadron FFA is hosting a relief effort with the Dawes County Fairgrounds serving as the drop-off point for donations of fencing supplies and hay.

“We had a few people from Wyoming suggest they drop it (hay) off here just in case we need it,” said Jack Arterburn Neb Extension beef systems educator in Dawes County. “We figured Chadron was a pretty logical location to set something up.”

Some of the hay coming out of Montana, Wyoming, and Nevada will stop in Chadron, as many of the ranchers affected by the blizzard and flooding are close to the city. If there is a need they will be able to get to the hay easily. 

Arterburn is coordinating the relief effort for the Nebraska Extension and the Chadron FFA and the Dawes County Fairgrounds will be the drop-off point for donations.

The hay, which has been lost has been swept down the Niobrara with flooding.

“I don’t see a big need for hay,” Arterburn said. “I think something that will really come into play for us in the Panhandle will be fencing supplies.”

The snow and drifts have pulled down fences in some areas and then there has also been fencing damage from flooding.

Along with donations of supplies, Arterburn said, when the time comes they would also like to see area FFA and 4-H groups assist with the relief efforts. With fencing or loading and unloading supplies.

“No, one is sure of what the local need is, but anything that is left over after May, or so will go to eastern Nebraska,” he said.

Donations of hay, fencing supplies, and livestock supplement are being accepted.

Butler Ag Equipment is also donating equipment to unload or load bales at the fair.

Arterburn says, to call ahead before dropping anything off at 308-249-3717 or 308-432-2373.

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