Whirlwinds of farming

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I’ve always enjoyed talking to farmers and sharing their stories. Seeing the passion they hold for what they do daily always keeps me smiling. Coming from a farm myself, I know the work it takes to keep it running, especially when something goes wrong.

One of the hardest and most eye-opening parts of writing for Dairy Star is getting to talk to farmers about their worst day and how they pushed through it. My family and I have been fairly lucky, normally having smaller problems or the common problem of a stubborn cow that takes the fence down.

The worst day I remember is Aug. 28, 2021, when an unpredicted storm hit. At the time, I was working for Freeport State Bank. My coworker and I just locked up and were getting ready to leave when it hit.

Sitting in the cafe next door to wait it out, I got a call from my mom. She told me to not even get into my car. As I sat in the cafe watching all the vehicles shake, all that was on my racing mind was the farm. After almost an hour, my mom called asking if it had calmed down in town and told me I could head home. She also warned me to watch for power lines.

During the drive home, I didn’t see much damage besides crops lying down. That was until I hit the small town of St. Anthony where the power lines were down. After another four painful minutes of driving, scared of what damage would be on the farm, I got home. Parking behind the house, due to a fallen tree, I ran to the house attempting to calm my fears.

When I got into the house, I couldn’t find anyone. I called all of my family members’ phones with no answer. That’s when my heart began to race and the tears came with the added fear for my family. I watched out the window, looking at the damage I could see from there, which wasn’t much compared to the actual damage.

 After about five minutes, I heard them walk through the door, and I jumped up to hug my mom. They had gone to the neighbors to get a bigger skid loader. Relieved by this, my heart lightened a bit knowing they were safe.

In total, we had two trees laying on a shop, another tree on a detached garage, one almost on the house and a window shattered in the milkhouse. A spare calf hut was destroyed, and our camper rolled 360 degrees into a tree. The roof and side of the pole barn were wrecked, and over 50 trees were down on the farm.

After going around and taking pictures of everything, we got to work right away, in the sunshine, to clean the farm with help of neighbors and friends. If I learned anything from this experience, it’s that there are people who are willing to lend a helping hand, and a situation is only as bad as you let it be.

That day, we got the trees off the buildings along with the ones that would eventually fall on buildings, patched the shop and cleaned up most of the debris. The following day, we learned there was an F4 funnel cloud that passed over the farm.

The days we spent cleaning up reminded me of the reason we fought for the farm. Farming isn’t a job; it’s a lifestyle to raise a family on. I am grateful my parents kept the farm going, giving me the opportunity to learn the true meaning of hard work and how to treat others. I wouldn’t be the person I am if it wasn’t for my parents’ farm.

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