Farm life was very disrupted by a tornado, completely unexpected in our area. There was damage in every aspect of farm life here. On Monday, June 22nd, 2015--a severe storm hit our tri-state area (IA, MN, WI). In addition to the photos above (hoop house crushed, trees downed, the storage shed blown off its foundation, it's wall blown to the ground), high winds broke windows in my home, the hail that proceeded the storm tore up the roof, electricity to the farm buildings was severely compromised. The pounding rain, large hail, and high winds took a severe toll on crops in the fields. No government agencies to help, no crop insurance available for a situation like this. Instead, we have been working on making our way back
with the help of caring individuals. See the latest updates just below:
******UPDATE #3 January 2016*****
Major progress. The pictures above were taken in December before any significant snows.
I bartered the 2015 certified organic hay crop in exchange for the materials and labor to put a new metal roof on the house. There was significant damage to the old roof and a roof that doesn't leak is a very good trade and my Amish friends were happy with trade as well.
More major developments. The many trees damaged along Coyote Lane which runs through the forty acres on the north side of the farm where removed by the County. (Yes, my tax dollars at work!) It was as if the Marines had landed--probably a dozen trucks, about as many County workers, and real significant equipment. It's not all taken care of yet but so very much better.
But wait...there's more. Two wonderful volunteers from the Logan Square Farmers Market
rented chain saws and traveled here to spend two days cutting trees that had fallen into the
5 Acre field we'll be planting in this coming 2016 growing season. That "random act of kindness" inspired a few of our locals to join in as well. Altogether, it was a successful couple of days of tree clearing.
And, the eventual icing on the cake. The DNR did a fly-over to view not only my woodland but also, the surrounding damage to all neighbors affected by the tornado. A meeting was called. We were informed that we had to sustain our losses (too bad--timber values because of the disaster would drop to 30% of the original value). We were also told that, although it was very necessary to clean up the damage, there was nothing in the way of programs or government $$$ to help. Since it was virtually impossible for a private landowner to afford to clean up that very substantial damage that was done, we were all very discouraged.
However, as fate would have it....I was interviewed on radio at the Farm Aid concert and interviewed again on New Year's Eve. Because I wanted to be very accurate for the second interview, I researched Weather Disaster aid for private landowners with woodland damage.
What I discovered was that there was a cost share program that had never yet been used in the State of Wisconsin. I met with our County Committee on its implementation...and Yeah!!! They are looking at putting this program in place for the first time ever. (Could be tax dollars at work again and serendipity).
We will all still sustain the timber losses and the revenue that would have helped pay the property taxes but it's a start in the right direction.
*****UPDATE #4 February 2016*****
The wonderful support offered at the start of the GoFundMe
campaign helped us through the perils of last season. We were thankful to be able to fulfill last season's missions in spite of the losses we sustained. But currently, we are facing an upcoming season with much work to do yet. We need to rebuild the vital buildings that were lost to the tornado damage--the hoophouse and shed. We are on the move with your help! Please visit the GoFundMe page.
*****UPDATE #1 July 2015*****
The damage is more widespread than originally thought, and rebuilding will take a huge effort by me, my crew, neighbors, and professionals. As you can imagine, these expenses were not in the year's budget. Please go to my GoFundMe page and consider any donation that you can give to help me rebuild and get back on track. In any event, please spread the word through your Facebook and other social media. Thank you!
*****UPDATE #2 August 2015*****
We're hanging in there, and--with a little help from my friends--started CSA deliveries on the last weekend of July. A crew of young Amish men spent a Saturday here cleaning up and starting some rebuilding projects. The bad news: The need is still great; please continue to share my GoFundMe campaign (above). The good news: The crops that remained and those that have since been replanted are doing well and I'm able to open my CSA for additional shares; I anticipate continuing deliveries into November. Please spread the word.