From March 12 to 14, a powerful precipitation-heavy storm system known as a “bomb cyclone” fell across the Midwest, Rockies, and Plains — forever changing the lives of many farmers and ranchers. Temperatures in Colorado went from 66 degrees to blizzard-like conditions overnight. The worst of it fell in Nebraska. With heavy rains saturating the ground and temperatures dropping below freezing, it was a recipe for disaster. Ranchers did their best to move livestock to elevated grounds, but with little time on their side, not everything could be saved.
Ranchers across the country lost so much in such a short amount of time. The number of cattle lost are still unknown and so is the economic damages caused by this storm. The Weather Channel captured how crazy the winds were while ranchers tried to assist the livestock and the hardships that faced them.
NEW: This is what it’s like on a Nebraska cattle ranch during the worst of the winter storm.
Posted by Dave Malkoff on Thursday, March 14, 2019
As many ranchers were preparing for their calving season, in drove the bomb cyclone. This storm truly came at the worst time. For one farmer, Mike Kaminski, it took out his oldest calves. That could take 10 to 12 years to get back to those genetics, said the farmer from Loup City, Nebraska. He continued saying, “You have to save what is left, you don’t even have time to digest what is truly going on.” The resilience of the farmer and rancher is remarkable. You can’t think about what you have lost, you must think about what you have in front of you.
Livestock lost was not the only tragedy caused by the storms. The storm has accounted for two deaths, with others still missing. One of those who lost his life was deemed a hero, a farmer, and pillar of his community. James Wilke, 50 and a lifelong farmer from Columbus, Nebraska, was driving his tractor when the bridge he was crossing collapsed while he was trying to rescue a stranded motorist.
Even in the darkest of times, you can find a light. This is just one example of neighbors helping neighbors. I have a feeling that once the water subsides, we will be seeing the ag family, from coast to coast, reaching out to help those ranchers hurt by the storm in anyway they can.
Our deepest condolences are with the family who lost loved ones and with the farmers and ranchers who are trying to get through the day — living this nightmare.
Note: Please know that some of the images below can be difficult to see, but they represent the reality of what man in the ag community are currently facing.
The Governor of Nebraska declared a state of an emergency and temporarily waived the length and weight requirements for trucks traveling through Nebraska. This is in effort to move materials more efficiently around the state and to allow relief materials get there faster.
The person who posted the video below has this pointed comment for our lawmakers in D.C.:
“My sister in Nebraska just called. She said, ‘Why isn’t anyone talking about the flooding crisis here?’ She shared a friend’s post of photos so I put this video together. Hello Washington! America’s heartland that feeds us is suffering. Please help.”