Hundreds of Cattle, Thousands of Hens among Tornado Casualties in Arkansas

LITTLE ROCK, AR - Arkansas ranchers and poultry producers are coping with losses from tornadoes that ripped through the state.

Hundreds of head of cattle were killed or will have to be put down, and tens of thousands of chickens died or will have to be destroyed due to Tuesday's storms, agriculture officials said.

Conway County extension agent Tommy Thompson says it's important for livestock owners to document their losses.  Producers need to keep a record of time spent on the cleanup, how many people worked on the project, equipment used and what work was done.

County agents say disposing of dead livestock is a problem for ranchers and poultry producers.  Some cattle will have to be buried but others can be composted.  Also, livestock owners will have to clear fields and ponds of tornado debris so it won't later be eaten by cattle and possibly injuring them.

Van Devender said the Natural Resources Conservation Service is working with farmers to defray disposal costs.

State regulations don't allow open burning.

Ranchers are also working to shore up destroyed fencing and round up cattle that have wandered off.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)