The wildfires in north-central Nebraska have prompted the state's candidates for U.S. Senate to weigh in on proposals that could help farmers and ranchers suffering not only from the fires, but record drought.
Both Democrat Bob Kerrey and Republican candidate Deb Fischer have toured the wildfire areas and called on Congress to pass the federal farm bill, which includes disaster assistance for wildfires and drought.
But they have different ideas about other ways to help. Kerrey wants to speed up the process of offering low-interest loans to producers affected by drought and to expand the crop insurance program to include grazing land.
Fischer wants to waive conservation program obligations during severe drought and temporarily suspend weight and length requirements on vehicles transporting feed and livestock to disaster areas.
Donations are being accepted to help livestock producers who've been hit by the one-two punch of drought and wildfires this summer.
Wildfires have burned hundreds of miles of fencing and consumed tens of thousands of acres of what grass was left for cattle and calves to graze on.
The North Central Development Center in Ainsworth has set up a fund to take financial donations to help with the cost of the fire. Donations of wire and post may be delivered to the Farmers and Ranchers Co-op in Ainsworth.
For more information, contact the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension Office in Ainsworth at 1-800-634-8951. The development center can be contacted at 402-387-2740.