Farmers in “damage control” after strong winds destroy millions of acres of crops statewide

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 6:36 PM CDT
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Iowa (KCRG) - Currently, it is estimated that strong winds and stormy conditions on Monday destroyed ten million acres of farmland statewide in Iowa.

Now many farmers are left to pick up the pieces and manage what remains of their crops, if anything. And those problems on the farm are even harder to address without any power.

For Steve Swenka, the owner of Double G Angus Farms in Johnson County, all he could do during Monday’s violent winds, was watch.

“You always hope that ‘well, maybe it’s not as bad as I thought,” Swenka said. “And then you see patches [of crops] like this and then you just know probably what we’re looking at right now is not coming back.”

When it comes to his cornfields, he knows anything that is blown over at least has a chance of being saved, while anything bent is dead. But on the Swenka’s farm, there is more to manage miles down the road, as they have to manually transport water by truck from their home to the cattle in the fields.

It is not typically a job Swenka does by hand. But he, like many other farmers, are without power on top of everything else. Everything he is doing right now is powered by generators, and require constant monitoring to make sure they do not run out of fuel.

“I’d really like to think that in 24 hours we might see some of the farms with power back on, even if some of the farms would get their power back, that would sure relieve the workload and the driving around the filling tanks like we’ve just done here.” Swenka said.

Swenka said with so much out of his control, his focus shifts to what he still has the ability to do.

“It’s just a complete mix of emotions going through your head and it’s hard to know what to do first,” Swenka said. “You just kind of pull up your boots, put your best foot forward and go from there.”

Leaving Swenka trying to stay positive, during a time where gas-powered engines are the only thing keeping them from being powerless.

“Sooner or later the tide will turn, and something will come along that gives you hope and a little bit of a positive attitude,” Swenka said. “It’s just a matter of keeping yourself moving in the right direction.”

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