Between his two farms Larry Henke lost three grain bins, two barns, all of his machinery and fields of crops. That’s not to mention his livelihood dairy. He lost 14 cattle.
“The milk prices are higher than they’ve been, so we’ve got the milk price but no cattle to milk right now,” said Henke.
Experts surveying agricultural damage estimate that $60 million was lost in Lancaster, Gage and Saline counties.
“The main path of the tornado, anything that was in there, farmsteads and acreages are badly damaged or totally gone. Of course, that’s the real tragedy,” said Paul Hay, a UNL extension educator.
Hay is talking to farmers about what recovery options they have. Many will have to start from scratch.
“Beans were very badly damaged in the main track of the storm and for the most part are going to have to be replanted. Corn there is some hope,” said Hay.
Henke’s cornfield is salvageable. His soybean field is not. Still, he is hoping to have his dairy farm back to normal by next year.
“The facilities weren’t damaged here with the free stalls and milking products. They’re all usable. They just need a little repair,” said Henke.
Many farmers have received a lot of help picking up debris from their communities.