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What southern farmers need most: Diesel fuel

Much of the attention in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina has been focused on the human tragedy in and around New Orleans.

While it is certainly right that people be cared for first, another tragedy is happening on the farms of southern Mississippi and Louisiana.

Many farmers there raise poultry and dairy animals, and are heavily dependent on electrical power to run equipment. Some farmers have called asking if they can donate hay, but the cost to get it were it's needed is prohibitive. Plus, they're in summer so cows are on pasture and don't really need hay. "It would help us more if you would sell the hay, and send us the money," Greg Gibson, the public relations director of the Mississippi Farm Bureau told Agriculture Online on Wednesday.

He also said there are miles and miles of fences that have been ruined by the storm. They may eventually be able to use volunteers to help rebuild fences.

But, what they really need now is diesel fuel. A co-op effort is underway in south Mississippi to provide a depot where farmers can come and get fuel.