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Texas women and others make efforts to help neighbors battling wildfires in the Panhandle

Posted: 5:33 PM, Mar 05, 2024
Updated: 2024-03-05 18:34:01-05
Shelby Kyle

TEXAS — Don’t be fooled by Blayr Barnard’s business-work outfit.

As the owner of Barnard Beef Cattle Co., a cattle ranch in Oglesby, TX, she knows what it takes to run a business.

She told me, “No matter how I’m dressed, we do what we have to do on a ranch.”

She's now turning her attention to help her agricultural neighbors in the Panhandle.

The smaller staffed 11,000 acre ranch held a donation drive Sunday. They collected items ranchers and farmers need in the field and at home.

Taking me on a ride around the ranch, Blayr shared history of the more than 100-year-old family ranch which has faced it's own challenges.

As a result, she understands her neighbor's struggles in the Panhandle and how important farms and ranches are to the people that make them possible.

“It’s your kids shoes and it’s your kids college fund and the dinner on your table and that’s terrifying," she said.

The ranch is also collecting hay—a major need in the Panhandle as more than 2,000 square miles of land continues to go up in flames.

Blayr Barnard
Blayr Barnard

“Currently we received about 40 bales donated and we match every bale, bale for bale. So we’ve already sent 80 bales. We’ve got 40 more bales to send that were donated,” she said.

Blayr told me the challenge she's now facing is getting people to relate and understand how big of an issue the fires really are.

Blayr told me, "It’s burned over a million acres which would be like burning the entire area between Gatesville, Temple, Belton and Killeen plus some.”

She’s taken to social media to spread the word, using Facebook groups like the Rancher Navy, to help as the future of the nation’s top beef producer remains uncertain.

Blayr hopes her efforts will help people in the Panhandle recover.

Her message is simple, “If you eat anything, beef, corn anything like that you are going to be impacted by this. It is important that you know that any dollar that you send is going to help you in the long run.”

You can drop off items at Barnard Beef Cattle Co. at 2275 CR 268 in Oglesby on Saturday for an hour, starting at 1 p.m.

Blayr encourages people to make monetary donations that will help with items like fuel costs.

You can donate via Venmo — @blayr-barnard, or Paypal —

Blayr told me they plan to have more drop off events in the future but want to access the needs in the Panhandle over the next few weeks before putting one on the calendar.

Now moving six hours northwest, Shelby Kyle of Amarillo stepped in to help her agricultural neighbors in the Panhandle and used her own stock trailer to help evacuate cattle.

She told me “A rancher is gonna say, 'no I don’t need help I’m fine I’ll figure it out.’ So unless somebody just jumps in and does it, nobodies gonna help them.”

She then turned her efforts to helping feed heroes fighting the flames through her business Shelby's Dawgs.

Shelby Kyle
Shelby Kyle

She told me her team helped make hundreds of meals each day over the last week to help feed those impacted and battling through the flames.

Social media warriors helped pave the way in Facebook groups like the Rancher Navy.
The response has been overwhelming for her.

“My food truck just started in January so I had like 100 people on social media who knew what I was or what I was doing and with this I have like 2,600 likes and comments and it makes me wanna cry just about every time I get on.”

Click here to read more about how you can help.