Neighborly love: Hay, animal supplies trucked in from all over to assist Texas Hurricane Harvey ag producers

Writer: Blair Fannin, 979-845-2259, b-fannin@tamu.edu

NOME – The outpouring of support from neighboring states has been overwhelming, said Mike Doguet, owner of Doguet’s Diamond D Ranch Turf Farm in Nome, Texas.

A truck of donating hay and other supplies from New Jersey is unloaded in Sour Lake, Texas. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

“We have had truckloads of hay coming from all over,” Doguet said. “It’s just been amazing.”

Matt Willey inspects hay damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. About 300 round bales were lost due to high water. The hay was in an open pole barn. However, some hay piled to the right can possibly be salvaged and fed to cattle this winter. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

Doguet, along with his son-in-law Matt Willey, opened up their warehouse facility at Nome following Hurricane Harvey to serve as an animal supply point, with assistance from the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service.

Flood waters as high as five to six feet ruined several hundred round bales of hay, according to Matt Willey, who ranches at the Doguet Ranch in Nome, Texas. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

They had just weathered one of the worst hurricanes in the history of Texas, making every attempt to save nearly 500 head of Brangus cattle on their ranch in Southeast Texas. With flood waters rising every hour, Doguet and Willey along with ranch hands found themselves rounding up cattle on horseback, in the dark or by boat, to get the herd to the highest point on the ranch.

(Left) Victor Catalanotto, Matt Willey and Mike Doguet have been working together to distribute hay and other supplies to ranchers in Nome, Texas. The Doguet Turf Farm warehouse has served as a distribution point for ranchers in need of hay, sack feed and other supplies after Hurricane Harvey. Hay has come from all over the U.S. “The response from folks out of state has been overwhelming. They are our true friends,” said Mike Doguet. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

“But even the places you thought were the highest points, it turned out they weren’t,” Willey said. “We were down to our last 80-100 acres or so of high land.”

Doguet said a mere seven inches separated flood waters from entering their ranch home, though family members had to be taken out by boat.

Doguet said they did lose more than 300 round bales of hay that sat in a pole barn engulfed by rising flood waters. However, the bales were stacked and those that were on the second and third rows survived.

“But a lot of folks around here don’t have barns, and winter is coming up,” Doguet said.

The animal supply point has been providing hay, bedding materials and other supplies for ranchers and livestock owners in Jefferson County and the surrounding area. The need was so intense immediately after the hurricane that the supply point distributed as many as 500 round bales in one afternoon.

“There were trucks lined up all along the road,” Willey said. “We had an assembly line here inside the warehouse getting dog and cat food unloaded. You’ve just never seen anything like it. But you know what, nobody got impatient. Everybody just understood the situation.

“There are people here that have so much pride and don’t want any help with hay or supplies. We’ve had to force the issue. They need the hay; they need to keep their cattle fed and alive. This is what this is here for and this why so many people have chipped in.”

Mike Doguet, owner of Doguet Turf Farm in Nome, Texas, responds to a rancher’s call needing hay. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

Mike Doguet shows on his phone a rescue effort to save cattle on the ranch at Nome, Texas during Hurricane Harvey. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

A sign in Sour Lake, Texas makes a call for hay and animal supplies for Hardin County
victims of Hurricane Harvey. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

Matt Willey discusses the rising flood waters sustained in Nome, Texas during Hurricane Harvey. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

Doguet pulled out a legal pad with a list of ranchers needing hay. Some needed as much as 600 round bales.

A donation of round bales arrives at the Nome, Texas Animal Supply Point at Doguet Turf Farm in Nome, Texas. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

“Every one of these individuals need double what they are asking for, but they don’t want to take something that might help another person,” Doguet said.
The next concern is cattle coming down with pneumonia.

Recovery efforts continue as homes have been flooded and clean up efforts continue in Sour Lake, Texas. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

Willey said some of his cattle were showing symptoms so he made a quick trip to see Eric Metteauer, veterinarian with SETX Equine and Veterinary Hospital in Sour Lake. Metteauer has been working around the clock rescuing cattle or tending to sick livestock. At his practice Thursday, he was treating everything from horses to dogs.

Willey said Friday was going to be an early start.
“We are going to start at 6:30 a.m. tomorrow and work about 250 to 300 head,” he said. “We’ve got to act fast.”

 

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