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Posted 03/08/2024

NDSA and NDSF to aid Texas ranch families

For immediate release

March 8, 2024


For more information, contact:

Jason Leiseth, NDSA president: (701) 770-1129 •

Jeff Schafer, NDSF president: (701) 653-5690 •

Julie Ellingson, NDSA executive vice president: (701) 223-2522 •

Elizabeth Neshem, NDSA communications director: (701) 833-1162 •


North Dakota Stockmen’s Association and Foundation

to aid Texas ranch families

Organizations launch Operation Lone Star Disaster Relief


The  North Dakota Stockmen’s Association (NDSA) and North Dakota Stockmen’s Foundation (NDSF) are extending support to their cattle-ranching neighbors in Texas who have suffered catastrophic losses in the recent wildfires that have ravaged the Panhandle region.


The non-profit organizations have created the Operation Lone Star Disaster Relief Fund with an initial $2,000 of their own and are inviting others who’d like to join them in the relief effort to contribute to the pool by sending checks to the NDSF at 4520 Ottawa St., Bismarck, ND 58503 (write “Operation Lone Star Disaster Relief” in the memo), logging onto or participating in the various other relief efforts organized around the country. The Operation Lone Star Disaster Relief Fund is designed to connect North Dakotans who want to provide financial support with Texas ranch families in need. The NDSA and NDSF will compile any gifts they receive with their own and work with the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, a fellow cattle producers’ trade organization, to distribute 100 percent of the money to cattle-ranching wildfire victims.


“North Dakota cattlemen’s and cattlewomen’s hearts are aching as they learn about the aftermath of the Texas wildfires,” explained Jason Leiseth, NDSA president and Arnegard, N.D., rancher. “Many have reached out wanting to help, and we are glad to help facilitate that support to our peers.”


The fire is the largest in Texas history and the second largest fire in the nation’s history, already burning more than a million acres – a larger footprint of destruction than thousands of fires did over the course of four years in the state from 2017 to 2021. Texas Commissioner of Agriculture Sid Miller said in a statement last week that cattle and crop losses in the Panhandle are significant, infrastructure damage is catastrophic and Hemphill County alone has reported more than 1,000 missing or dead cattle. An estimated 3,600 head have perished, with more likely having to be euthanized because of burned hooves and udders and damaged lungs. More than 85 percent of the state’s cattle population is located on ranches in the Panhandle.


“What Texas has been through is almost unimaginable,” said NDSF President Jeff Schafer, a New Rockford, N.D., cow-calf producer and feeder. “We want impacted Texas cattle ranchers to know their North Dakota friends are here for them and praying for them as they overcome this tragedy.”

The NDSF is a 501(c)3 charitable organization, so gifts can be deducted for income tax purposes.


For more information about Operation Lone Star Disaster Relief, call (701) 223-2522 or visit A list of avenues for those wishing to donate livestock feed, fencing materials or other supplies can be found here.


The NDSA is a 94-year-old cattle producers’ trade organization that works to unite, protect, promote, educate and serve North Dakota’s beef industry. The NDSF is a charitable organization that provides hope and opportunity for the beef cattle industry through scholarship, leadership, promotion, research, building and disaster relief objectives.