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250 head of cattle killed at Florida dairy in Hurricane Ian

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Hurricane Ian didn’t just hit cities and towns — it hit farms, and it hit them hard. One such farm is Dakin Dairy, a cornerstone business in Manatee County, Florida. The farm lost 250 head of their 2,500 cow milking operation to drowning or injury by flying debris. But, just like the ag community has done in the past, neighbors and others are stepping up to help the Dakins and others in the community in need as well.

»Related: Here’s how to help those affected by Hurricane Ian

The Dakin’s milking parlor still stands in light of the loss of cattle and the destruction of shades and barns. The farm is now focused on providing necessary care for the remaining cattle that are milking three times per day while community members show up to help with clean-up. 

A source for Florida-grown dairy products, the farm was enjoyed by many through its agritourism experiences: farm tours, play areas, Farm Market Cafe, and Farmers Market. 

The Farm Market Cafe has now become a supply hub, providing necessities and hot meals for neighbors. The dairy, in partnership with local community members, is working on getting everything cleaned up, making sure everyone in need is fed, and serving as a collection site for agricultural and personal products for anyone who needs them.  

But, work on Dakin Dairy isn’t even close to being done. Power and water restoration and ensuring the cattle are kept cool in the Florida heat are integral. Dead livestock needs to be buried, but the ground is too saturated. The farm has called for farriers to help treat cattle standing in the debris and destruction. In the weeks to come, the farm anticipates other potential livestock losses due to stress and injury from the storm. 

The Dakin Dairy is a part of a united supply drive for Florida. Dakin Dairy and Arcadia Stockyard serve as points of distribution for items such as hay, mineral, grain, feed, fencing, water troughs, buckets, and other supplies. 

The cafe at Dakin Dairy is asking for donations of much-needed supplies including, but not limited to batteries, gas, propane, non-perishable foods, water, socks, bedding, pillows, air mattresses, personal hygiene products, diapers, wipes, tarps, generators, cooktops, and more. 

If you are considering donating to a group you haven’t heard of before or to a fund that isn’t administered by a reliable source, please check out the list of legitimate charities on Charity Navigator to ensure you’re not getting scammed.

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