Mother Nature continues to hit ag hard in 2020
This year has been hard on so many people. COVID-19 has brought on loss of life, loss of jobs, loss of security, loss of peace and other unimaginable hardships.
Increased poverty, homelessness, civil unrest, race wars, destruction of property, riots, food supply disruptions, empty grocery store shelves, school shut downs, businesses closed forever, and the list seems to go on and on.
I would like to think there is hope just around the corner, but as we near closer to the election, I fear the ugliness will only continue to escalate.
Agriculture has been impacted by this novel coronavirus in countless ways, as well. As we grapple with the same troubling news and disruptions as the rest of society, many farmers and ranchers are also dealing with the ramifications of Mother Nature’s blows.
From wildfires to hurricanes to wind storms, the devastation due to extreme weather events has been severe. My thoughts and prayers are with those impacted by these horrific scenarios.
In Iowa, a severe “derecho” storm blew across the state, destroying crops, grain bins, homes, buildings and more.
According to World Grain, “The storm unleashed winds of over 100 miles per hour, equivalent to an F1 tornado. Some have described it as an inland hurricane. The Iowa Department of Agriculture estimates more than 57 million bushels of permanently licensed grain storage was seriously damaged or destroyed.”
Hurricane Laura is also impacting the southern United States, putting both crops and livestock at risk.
The Poultry Site reports, “Laura made landfall early on August 27 as a Category 4 storm packing winds of 150 mph in the small town of Cameron, Louisiana, the National Hurricane Center said. It rapidly weakened to a Category 1 storm and then a tropical storm by afternoon.”
Reuters adds, “U.S. President Donald Trump is expected to head to the Gulf Coast to survey the damage. The storm was forecast to drop heavy rain over Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky as it headed out to the East Coast, the National Weather Service said.”
In California, where the forest management policy is firmly in the “do not touch camp,” we see annual wildfires that could be mitigated with responsible logging and grazing. However, that’s a blog post for another day.
Policy discussions aside, in California, what is being called a “megafire era” is consuming acres of redwood forests and surrounding farmland as it burns.
According to Reuters, “The fires are far from under control with over 230 strikes in past day sparking new fires after more than 650 in the last 10 days, Cal Fire said. At least seven people have been killed and over 1,400 homes and other structures destroyed. Smoke from fires created unhealthy air quality for a large swath of northern California and drifted as far away as Kansas.”
If you have experienced one of these damaging weather events or others in 2020, know that you’re not alone. Resources are available to help, and the agricultural community wants to rally around you and offer you help, comfort and fellowship as you navigate through this difficult year.
If you know of resources that could help the victims of the hurricanes, wildfires or the derecho storm, please email information to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. ❖
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New research continues to emerge regarding COVID-19, and at home in South Dakota, it’s cattle leading the way in some new and important science that could potentially benefit human health.