We are facing a historic drought here in the Dakotas and Montanathat has now been declared a regional disaster at the federal level. The losses are overwhelming. There is very little available to feed cows and even water supplies have gone dry. In the eastern part of the North Dakota, things are unfavorable, but not as extremely challenging they are further west. Stutsman County Farm Bureau (Jamestown, ND area and surrounding communities) had been looking for a way to help.
After he and I discussed the circumstances here, my Uncle, Tom Bedgar, of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania, along with another local trucker, Dan McElwain of New Park, PA, began rallying fellow truckers and farmers and many have so generously stepped up to the plate to donate semi loads of hay, trucks, trailers, fuel, and others have offered to haul it to a central drop off point in the heart of the drought-stricken area. Each semi holds approximately 24 tons of hay.
On our behalf, the North Dakota Farm Bureau Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, will be collecting tax-deductible donations and distributing funds to help defray the cost of fuel for hauling and will be providing receipts for donations. Any donations received above and beyond the cost of fuel for hauling hay will be sent directly to ranching families affected by the drought. Coordination of hay, trucks, trailers, and drivers is being conducted by Tom Bedgar, 717-873-4421 and Dan McElwain, 717-578-8207. Monetary donations may be sent to: North Dakota Farm Bureau Foundation, 1101 1st Ave N., Fargo, ND 58102. Please include "Hay Drive" in the memo.
Donations may include goods (hay) and/or in kind services (hauling, use of equipment), and costs incurred while completing in kind services. Please submit copies of all receipts related to your donation (i.e. fuel, meals, lodging, etc.) to the North Dakota Farm Bureau Foundation as well. A donation form is available to describe donations and their fair market value. Fuel costs for hauling hay will be reimbursed based on donations received and receipts submitted. Please direct questions to Sarah Bedgar Wilson, Stutsman County Farm Bureau Director and drought relief project coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 701-269-4438.
Stockmenís Livestock Exchange of Dickinson, North Dakota has graciously offered to serve as a central drop off point and unload donated hay and reload for recipients during daylight hours, seven days a week. The first load was dropped off this past weekend and at least twelve more semi loads will be heading west in the coming weeks. I am in awe of the generosity of all involved in this project.
Donations are deeply appreciated by ranching families facing these challenging drought conditions. On behalf of the North Dakota agriculture community we are so very thankful for the generosity of so many individuals and businesses across the nation.
To express our sincere appreciation, Stutsman County Farm Bureau is also working on lodging and meals for any participating drivers and those accompanying drivers while they are our guests in North Dakota.
Nominations and self-nominations for hay are being accepted at email@example.com and will be reviewed by the SCFB Board of Directors. Out of respect for ranching families, the nomination process and recipient information will remain anonymous.
With Utmost Gratitude,
Sarah Bedgar Wilson
Promotion and Education Chairman, Member, Board of Directors
Stutsman County Farm Bureau
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