Brothers in agriculture will help Kansas farmers rebuild following devastating fires

FF Editor
Farm Forum

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By Kelly Morrison

Agriculture Communications and Animal Science Student, South Dakota State University

Editor’s note: Throughout the spring and summer months, the Farm Forum will feature articles written by South Dakota State University agriculture communications students.

Passionate about agriculture, many of these students will pursue careers where they will promote the people, commodities, technology and research that make up the agricultural industry.

We hope you enjoy reading their articles and encourage you to reach out and share your story with them.

To learn more about the agriculture education, communication and leadership major at SDSU, contact Lyle Olson, interim department head for the Journalism and Mass Communications Department at SDSU, or 605-688-4171

It has never been said that agriculture is an industry for the faint of heart. Thousands of hard working men and women spend years working hard on their families’ land to provide an honest living for themselves, and it can be hard to imagine for some that all the blood, sweat and tears can be destroyed in one moment. But, this year has brought just that to America’s caretakers. Catastrophe, tragedy, a devastating loss cannot even begin to describe the turmoil that has unfolded for hundreds of ranchers across the states of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado following the devastating fires of March 2017.

Amid the pain and suffering has come some much needed help. Relief groups began forming almost immediately across the United States once word broke of the loss. Some groups were able to collect money directly for ranchers to rebuild or start anew. While some even took it upon themselves to collect loads and deliver them at their own expense and personally help those affected with their own two hands. One individual, Danial Muller, of Allen, Neb., spent a weekend with members of his community travelling to Englewood, Minneola, and Ashland, Kansas.

For Muller, this weekend experience was a true eye opener. “Honestly, I underestimated the scope of the damage. Once we had gotten down there and saw the aftermath, it was a total eye-opener of what Mother Nature can do. It was uplifting talking to the ranchers down there that had lost something, or almost everything, due to the fire, and most of them honestly just replied, ‘Well, we’ll just have to keep on trucking and moving forward and deal with it. It’s mother nature — not worth sitting around and pouting about it,’” Muller said.

From the ashes comes hope

After his experience, Muller knew there was more that needed to be done. As a member of South Dakota State University’s Alpha Gamma Rho Chapter (AGR), he pitched the idea of travelling back to Kansas and personally assisting these ranchers rebuild. “When I saw the amount of fence and buildings damaged, I knew that these cattlemen and women needed more than feed and supplies. I thought that even financially AGR members may not be able to make large financial donations, we can donate our time and labor to haul supplies down and help replace fences that were compromised by the grass fires,” Muller said.

Roughly 15-20 members will be travelling together in order to assist in the Kansas rebuild. Jake Post of Chandler, Minn., is one of the many members of AGR touched by Muller’s experience. Growing up on a large dairy operation, Post said, “For me, I figured if that happened to our farm home, I would very much appreciate help rebuilding after such an event. It pushed me into wanting to help and volunteering for the trip.”

Post, along with many other members, have been working with their own communities to try and raise funds and collect supplies to make the trip as successful as possible. The men of AGR will be leaving for Ashland Kansas during SDSU’s graduation weekend, May 5, with the hope to stay for an entire week travelling to different ranches across the area.

If you wish to assist SDSU’s Alpha Gamma Rho chapter donation’s Dan Muller can be contacted at (402) 369-4755. If individuals wish to send money directly, Muller recommends Ashland Community Foundation Memo Wildfire Relief Fund, Mail box 276, Ashland, Kansas 67831.

Kelly Morrison is a senior agriculture communications and animal science student at SDSU. Originally from Belle Plaine, Minn., she was actively involved in her family’s cow/calf operation, raising purebred Shorthorn cattle. Realizing her passion at a young age, Kelly grew up showing her family’s cattle, becoming an advocate for the agriculture industry.

Kelly will be interning for the Minnesota State Fair, assisting in marketing and promotion of the fair’s livestock events. After graduation, Kelly hopes to work for an agriculture-based company within marketing and communications as well as assist livestock breeders develop quality media to promote their sales.

Kelly can be reached through email at

Pictured above is the group of twelve members representing AGR on their trip to Kansas. Photo by Kelly Morrison
Kelly Morrison is an agriculture communications and animal science student at SDSU. Courtesy photo