Saturday, February 23, 2013

Tragedy Strikes, Farmers Come Together

Bold headline, I know, but when tragedy strikes farmers, neighbors, and other rural community members really do come together--at least they did this weekend.

I had a different post lined up for this weekend. I wanted to introduce my Show-Me Ag Matters project but that can wait. Instead, I wanted to tell a little story. A story about a man, a barn, some neighbors, and a whole lot of pigs.

As many of you are aware, we had a snow storm. Actually, most of the Midwest had a snow storm. This storm dropped a good bit of snow and in our area we got anywhere from 9 inches to more than a foot of snow with drifts 3 to 5 feet deep. This is where the tragedy began.

Snow is heavy, wet snow is heavier and I think you know where I'm going with this. Yes, that's the place this is heading--a roof collapsed.

One of our neighbor's roof collapsed on his pig barn. Unfortunately, it was full of pigs.
No, these are not the actual images of our neighbor's barn but this is very similar to what the damage looks like.

Fret not, there is good news in this story and a happy ending.

Fortunately, because this farmer was quick to act, friends, family, neighbors, and fellow farmers were able to rapidly come together. They were also able to save nearly every pig in the barn. As soon as the tragedy happened phones were ringing, trucks were moving, and people were coming together to save those pigs. Grown men were on hands and knees crawling under the collapsed roof trying desperately to get to the trapped pigs and run out as many as they possibly could.

It was a lucky thing that we recently emptied one of our sites and had room to fit all of our neighbor's pigs. However, there was a downside. This particular site has three barns sitting on it, two 1200-head barns and one 2400-head barn, our 2400-head barn was down for repairs. We needed to replace all the gate posts before pigs could come in. But a group of guys came over and got every single one of those gate posts (there were several!) replaced while another group took care of unloading the pigs in the smaller barns. It was a great show of organization and hustle.

Luck aside, it could not have been done without the help of extraordinary people willing to drop everything and come to aide a farmer and a friend in need. Because these wonderful people came together so quickly they were able to save nearly every pig in the entire barn. The pigs were hungry and thirsty when they came to our barns (due to the feed and water lines busting from the collapse) but otherwise happy and healthy--running, jumping, and inspecting the new facility.

I want to thank those farmers, friends, and neighbors for caring and dropping everything to help.

I want to thank our neighbor for acting so quickly and proving that farmers--no matter the size of their operation--care about their animals.

I want to thank all parties involved for doing the right thing even when they think no one is looking, even when they think no one will ever know of the good deed done. Because guess what guys, I just told on you. But I think in this instance, it's okay to tattle.

Great job getting those pigs out, guys. Now, everyone reading his, go thank a farmer!

1 comment:

  1. I'm glad everyone was able to pull together to help this guy out! One of the barns the hubs field manager (Cargill) takes care of had this happen - not sure if this was the one or not, but it sounds similar! I'm glad nobody was hurt!