This spring, livestock markets in Pratt and Reno counties helped raise $120,000 by auctioning off a donated heifer and two steer calves in an effort to raise funds to aid ranchers with wildfire losses in Reno, Harvey, Barber and Comanche counties.

In southern Kansas' Gyp Hills, the fire burned across a 400,000-acre swatch. Some ranchers lost cattle. Some have lost homes and buildings. It burned their grass that the cattle were grazing on - and they lost their stockpiles of hay.

They also lost fencing across ranches that span several thousand acres.

But how much fence will the funds raised actually build?

The cost of a mile of fence is roughly $9,000 to $12,000 - depending on the quality of materials and labor, according to two fencing companies -  TTT Fencing, Gregg and Sandi Tucker of Smith Center; and Jason Chesney, Chesney Fencing - in Reno County.

That means, in those two auctions, ranchers raised enough funds for roughly 12 miles of fence.

It’s not clear how much fence was lost - but ranchers have been repairing and replacing hundreds - if not thousands - of miles of fence.

It could take a few years to repair all the miles of fence, said Sandi Tucker. She said her husband volunteered his fence-building skills on the Merrill Ranch in Comanche County.

Gregg Tucker, she said, woke up in the middle of the night March 30, wondering what he could do to help ranchers. The Tuckers didn't have hay to give, she said.

But, he told her, "I can give my time."

Kansas Agland Editor Amy Bickel's agriculture roots started in Gypsum. She has been covering Kansas agriculture for more than 15 years. Email her with news, photos and other information at abickel@hutchnews.com or by calling (800) 766-3311 Ext. 320.

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