Dairy after Derecho: The Struggle to Get Contractors, Materials

In the Storms Way 093020

The derecho left its mark on Iowa’s crops but it also impacted livestock producers, especially dairies.

AgDay national reporter Betsy Jibben has an update from Blairstown, Iowa as livestock operations that were in the storm’s path are in a rush right now to rebuild before winter.


Reminders of the derecho are spread across fields in Blairstown, Iowa. The GenoSource Dairy was also in the storm's way.

“We had maybe 30 minutes warning that there [were] 60 to 80 per hour winds,” says Matt Simon, the CFO of GenoSource Dairy. “[That’s] nothing like the 100 mph plus that we did receive.”

The dairy which has 3,000 milk cows, with a heavy emphasis in genetics, lost power before the storm hit.

"We were working on generator power for just over a week,” says Simon. “Then, we also had a few generator issues that had us go without milking for about 18 hours one day."

Operations are back to normal but cleanup continues. Water tanks need to be rebuilt along with other structural repairs.

Right now, the focus is to enclose the barn and fix the rafters.

“If it’s warmer later in [the] November, December [timeframe], it will help a lot,” says Simon. “As far as getting contractors and materials, it’s been a struggle.”

Simon says some contractors are getting started on a couple projects. In general, it's difficult to find contractors. It's also a race to beat winter.

"If it gets too cold and the ends of the barns are still open, it will turn into a skating rink for the cows,” says Simon. “That's one thing we don't want."

The impact of this historic storm is still evident as farms work to rebuild what nature tore down.

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Submitted by Mike Corning on Thu, 10/01/2020 - 08:01

Been there Live in florida.Build building that can withstand 150 mph an make sure your backup power source can run everything.