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Wisconsin Blizzard

A Note from Tana Lyons who was our on the ground contact helping farmers in NE Wisconsin:

I wanted to reach out in regards to the donation that NE WI farmers received after facing devastation from Blizzard Evelyn. I was able to provide funds to 6 farms who lost barns and livestock due to the blizzard. Each farm was extremely thankful as they had bills that were piling up due to large amounts of drugs needed to treat sick and wounded animals and on top of low milk prices, had to find the money to have buildings rebuilt that insurance wouldn’t cover. I want to say a BIG THANK YOU on behalf of all of these farms!

A little more about the blizzard:

The weekend of April 14th, NE WI experienced something we will never forget. Blizzard Evelyn hit and she hit hard, some areas getting as much as 34 inches over a 2 day period. It started Friday night with rain turning to sleet and then finally the snow hit. With the weight of the ice and then several feet of snow on the freestall barns, the roofs couldn’t hold and fell in. Several farms lost small sections of their roofs while others lost most of the roof leaving the cows out in the open and under the weather. Though this wasn’t ideal, everyone was thankful it wasn’t January or February when we had negative temps. Because the snow fall happened so fast, some couldn’t move cattle out of their pens fast enough and had cows trapped under the rubble for several days. Many farms also lost a large number of head. Some even thought they were safe until 1-3 days after the snow had stopped falling, roofs collapsed from the snow melting and refreezing but not being able to slide off due to the ice underneath. I was able to provide funds on behalf of Ag Community Relief to 6 farms who were wanting extra help, but in my territory alone, I had over 30 customers who dealt with some sort of collapse on their farm.

Nearly 4 months later, some farms are completely fixed up and back to normal while other farms are still in the process of rebuilding. This was a scary and stressful ordeal, but as farmers do, they put their head down and kept moving forward. In an economy like the one they are dealing with, I sat in awe as I watched NE WI farmers all take on yet another obstacle. I honestly wasn’t sure how much more the dairy farmer could take, but they are proving to me that even when they have hiccups along the way, they will fight and continue on.

This farm had the roof collapse over one half of his calf barn. He told me that they literally had to dig the calves out and just pull them out from under several feet of snow. Some didn’t make it, some are still dealing with issues like pneumonia and some had so many issues they had to be put down. He was extremely thankful that Ag Community Relief was willing to donate money to his farm.

I wasn’t able to get a good picture at this farm, but he lost this section of the barn and nearly his entire freestall barn. He moved about 90 head to a neighboring farm until he was able to bring them home. He lost 40 head total. He is still in the process of rebuilding but all the cows are home. He initially filled out an application for support, but decided he wasn’t in need as badly as other farms and told me to donate his funds to someone else

The freestall holds about 1000 head. About 3/4 of the roof collapsed, causing them to lose over 80 head of dairy cows. The roof collapsed in on the alleys that led to the parlor so the cows weren't able to be milked for about 36 hours. The hardest part was listening to the farmer & his wife tell me how they had never heard the cows bellar like that because they were in pain from not being milked. They had cows stuck under the roof for several days because it was too dangerous to pull them out.

Here are some photos of what they dealt with:

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