Competing for attention with all the chaos around the world last week were massive and deadly wildfires that scorched the Texas Panhandle. Acres and acres of agricultural land were affected, and the flames killed thousands of animals, many of them grazing cattle helpless to escape. Several grain and seed operations have reported total losses.

“This is catastrophic,” says Texas Slim, who comes from a ranching family in Canyon, Texas, and is the founder of The Beef Initiative. “It will take years to overcome and it will definitely have an impact on both the US and the global beef industry.”

Slim says it didn’t have to be this way. He says the convergence of land mismanagement and the relentless pursuit of profit-driven agriculture has exacerbated the scale of this disaster. The hyper-commodification of agriculture contributed to depleted soil fertility and drained aquifers.

If there’s anything positive to draw out of the tragedy, he says this may be an opportunity for ranchers to pivot to regenerative inputs and sustainable farming practices to help put American agriculture back on a more ecological and profitable path. “The cow is our best land tool,” Slim says, adding that the way the beef industry responds and pulls together to address this disaster and plan for the future will have far-reaching impacts on our food supply going forward.

“We can bounce back from this,” he says. “But we have to act fast.” He says ranchers have about a 90-day window to regrow the forage they will need to support next year’s herds. He is hoping ranchers and farmers will overcome their fear of doing things differently, seize the moment, and adopt more restorative practices.

READ MORE: From the ashes of the Texas wildfires, a possibility to feed ourselves better