Ag Community Relief filling a semi for Texas

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MID-MICHIGAN (WJRT) - (09/04/17) - Ag Community Relief was formed after Mid-Michigan farmers took part in a series of convoys that went down south to help farms ravaged by wildfires in the spring.

Since then, they've worked to help their fellow farmers across the country take on any disaster. It only made sense to organization's president, Matt Schaller, that they'd help the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

"As soon as everybody saw what happened, it was how are we gonna do this, how are we gonna make it happen?" Schaller said.

He said the group decided they'd fill a truck -- not just any truck, a 53-foot semi.

"It'll be a lot, so we got a lot of room. We're gonna need a lot of people to come out and top it off," Schaller said.

They're looking for a long list of items, ranging from water troughs, fly spray, rope and bags of feed.

"This is their livelihood, you know. People go to work for a living, they might go to a factory or an office and there's good chance it's gonna be there," Schaller said. "But when you gotta protect the animals that keep your family afloat, that's a whole different, whole different ballgame."

One volunteer, Brian Haak of Swartz Creek, already went down to Texas on Friday, bringing 147 small square bales of hay for livestock to eat.

"Right now, everything is wet. Horses, cows, whatever, will not eat that hay and it needs to be dry," Haak said. "Hay is not something that you can just go down to your corner store and purchase and go back home."

Haak says the Texas farmers are in desperate need of help.

"You can definitely see the devastation. It's something you don't want to ever wish on anybody. There's a lot of volunteers down there, doing a lot of really good work," he said. "It's gonna take them quite a while to recover from this."

The next truck will leave on Sept. 11. Schaller asks that donations are dropped off by Friday, Sept. 8, at specific sites across the state, including Family Farm & Home in Burton.

"It's just a way that we can show everybody down there that they're not alone, that people up here do care about 'em and what's going on," said Anthony Barshney with Family Farm & Home.

For a detailed list of what items they're in need of and where you can drop those items off, click on the 'related links' section of this story.

As this relief effort unfolds, Schaller says they've also got several volunteers making trips to Montana and North Dakota to help with wildfire relief. He says that help will continue.

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