With more than three-quarters of the Lone Star State in extreme or exceptional drought conditions, the state climatologist reports Texas is in the grip of the third-worst dry spell on record. To make matters worse, the Texas Forest Service reports more than 2.9 million acres have been scorched by more than 11,780 wildfires since wildfire season began in November.

In an effort to assist farmers and ranchers in recovering from the losses of cattle, structures, fences and other necessities, I created the State of Texas Agriculture Relief Fund, or STAR Fund, to collect monetary donations from private individuals and entities. STAR Fund donations will be used to rebuild the fences that exist today as only charred remains of once-bustling and productive ranches.

Texas is the national leader in the production of cattle, cotton, hay and other agricultural goods. If the devastating toll of drought and wildfires forces farmers and ranchers out of business, all Americans will be impacted by increased prices and decreased availability of the food and other agricultural products on which we rely.

In this time of severe drought and wildfires, let?s help the hardworking men and women who provide us with the safest, most abundant and most affordable food supply in the world.

To make a donation, visit www.TexasAgriculture.gov and click on STAR Fund under Most Popular Links. Impacted ranchers can also utilize the Hay Hotline to locate, sell or donate forage supplies. To access the Hay Hotline, call 877-429-1998 or visit www.TexasAgriculture.gov.