Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples yesterday announced joint efforts with local, state and federal partners as well as statewide agricultural organizations to meet the needs of thousands of agricultural producers impacted by Hurricane Ike.

Staples expressed an urgent plea for assistance of any type to farmers and ranchers hit hard by the deadly storm.

“Producers in southeast Texas are in desperate need of our help to save their livestock,” Staples said. “Storm surges from Hurricane Ike have destroyed fences and made forage and water sources harmful for livestock. We are working with federal and state officials to save the remaining livestock, but also need assistance from fellow Texans to ensure the effects of this catastrophe don’t become worse.”

State agencies are still trying to assess the financial impact Hurricane Ike has caused Texas agricultural producers; however, at this time, tens of thousands of livestock are without food and are at risk of dying if not fed.

Producers needing aid should contact their local emergency management officials who are in direct communication with the state emergency disaster management team and will be able to allocate the proper resources.

If livestock-related needs are not met, they can contact staff at the Texas Animal Health Commission at (800) 550-8242 ext. 296.

Staples is asking producers who are signed up through the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Hay Hotline (http://www.tda.state.tx.us./hayhotline) to sell or donate animal feed, hay or other resources such as feed and water troughs. Producers in need of these resources are encouraged to call the hotline at (800) Tell-TDA or go to http://www.tda.state.tx.us/hayhotline for more information.

The Texas AgriLife Extension Service is also setting up horse and cattle feed donation and distribution sites. Contact a local Extension agent for more information.

To offer financial resources to the animal relief effort, AgriLife Extension Service has set up a foundation at http://agrilifevents.tamu.edu/ or call (979) 845-2604.