By: Chris Oliviero, Niman Ranch General Manager
As you have likely seen in the news, historic flooding throughout the Midwest has tragically caused multiple deaths, billions of dollars of damage, and washed away homes, businesses and roads. Farmers and ranchers are being hit hard with flooded farm buildings and equipment, submerged fields and stranded livestock. I saw the aftermath myself while traveling in Nebraska two weeks ago and agree with Governor Pete Ricketts’ description of “unbelievable devastation.” Unfortunately, local residents are bracing for more flooding as spring rain continues and snow pack melts with warming days.
Many of Niman Ranch’s farmers are in this path of destruction. It’s been a tough winter already with record breaking cold snaps and so much snow that many farmers ran out of space to put it. While most of our farmers have gotten through the recent bouts of flooding relatively unscathed, we can’t say that is the case for all. Here is just one story featured in the Washington Post from a Niman Ranch farmer, Kyle Tubbs, whose farm was directly hit by the floods.
Kyle Tubbs in Craig, Mo., about 90 miles north of Kansas City, hauled all 400 of his hogs to higher elevations on Saturday afternoon, losing only one animal in the transition. The only building on his farm not underwater is his house, which he raised nine feet after the floods of 2010 and 2011. Tubbs is four days into this flood, the third in 10 years, and he said it’s far from over.
“There’s such a volume of water up in the Dakotas, we’ll be battling this all summer. Our rivers are managed so terribly.”
He’s reduced to using his boat for transport. When he looks out to the south, all he can see is water.
“I’m on the only oceanfront property in Missouri.”
While we usually focus on sunnier days on the farm, I thought it was important to share this story with our friends, partners and customers so folks can better understand the situation many farmers are currently facing. Farming is a challenging line of work with significant risk.
It’s an unfortunate fact that far too many in our country take the food on their dinner table for granted. In light of the news, we’ere especially thankful for our food and the people who produce it. We value their work today and everyday.
A farmer’s life will never be easy. But we remain hopeful. Farming communities are resilient, rallying to support each other and their neighbors to help everyone get back on their feet and on their land. We are staying in close communication with our farmers and keeping an eye on the weather. We will help impacted communities in any way we can – starting with donations of Niman Ranch products to families in need.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and thank you for supporting the Niman Ranch family of small, independent farmers and ranchers.
Please hold the Niman Ranch community and others in the Midwest in your thoughts and, if you are able to do so, consider making a donation to support those most hurt by this natural disaster.