Last week’s storm brings new challenges to South Dakota farmers

RAPID CITY, S.D. – Not only are South Dakota farmers struggling with drought conditions this year, but last week’s brutal “Derecho’ wind storm and tornado in the eastern part of the state also brings new challenges to the states leading industry.

While the moisture that came with the storm was a blessing, the 90-100 mph winds destroyed grain bins, damaged elevators, demolished farm equipment and wiped out fences leaving livestock wandering.

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Semi turned over by Thursday May 12, 2022 storm.

“Entire operations wiped out. Sheds, buildings, trucks, livestock. We’ve got dairies and hog barns that are gone. So it’s going to be a long process putting that back together,” Governor Kristi Noem said in a press conference.

“It was devastating. This is something we occasionally see in limited amounts, but this storm affected several parts of the state and in large amounts of damage,” said Jerry Schmitz, Executive Director of the South Dakota Soybean Association.

As the cleanup and rebuilding begin, some farmers, especially those who lost virtually everything wonder what their next step is and what the future holds.

“And that’s the wild card right now. We already knew there was difficulty with getting materials from the supply chain and prices have spiraled upward in the past year and a half,” said Schmitz. “There are folks that might have a grain bin that’s one or two years old that the price has now doubled to replace. And so, the difficulty is insurance probably can not cover all of the things that have been damaged, and when you have a farm and there are many, that the buildings and equipment and livestock have been acquired over decades and many cases over generations, and so when everything is destroyed it’s just really difficult to see how that individual or the family can get back into the groove. Get back into farming.”

Schmitz said that the storm may slow down planting for those who experienced a great amount of damage, but the biggest challenge will come at harvest time.

“We’re just not sure at this point what storage capabilities are going to be,” he said.

As a last option grain can be stored on the ground but when stored that way has greater losses.

Schmitz estimates that on Sunday 15%-20% of the states soybean crop has been planted and has not yet heard of any damage to fields that were planted early and may have emerged. Unlike corn that can sustain damage and come back, soybeans must be replanted.

While the hard work of cleanup and rebuilding begins Schmitz said there are blessings that come with it.

“It’s amazing to see the volunteerism and the South Dakota attitude that has been, let’s go help our neighbors,” he said.




Categories: ConnectCenter1-Ag, South Dakota News