When news of the devastating floods in Midwestern United States broke out in mid-March, many farmers outside the flood zones were compelled to take action after they saw the trail of damage that was left behind.
Beginning with a Facebook post on March 16 from residents of Knox City, Nebraska, and from a family who lost their home and farm buildings, farmers have donated and transported bales of Hay as well other household goods to various part of the state affected by the floods.
According to the state’s farm bureau, over $1 billion in ranch and farm losses have resulted from the historic floods.
On March 16, after receiving a call from his daughter to donate their family hay, Curt Zimmerer rallied support from other farmers, and soon after, over 21 locals pledged to donate their hay, according to The Fence Post. Hay and supplies then poured in from 16 states, including Nebraska, Kansas, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
The family was most touched after an elderly gentleman pulled up to their property in his 1998 Ford with a bale in the back.
“I know this isn’t much,” the elderly man told Zimmerer and Sucha, “but it’s the one good bale I have left and I know this family needs it more than I do.”
The man’s comment “brought me and my dad to tears,” Sucha said.
On March 22, farmers James Garnaut, from Ely, Iowa, and Robert Broulik, from Mount Vernon, led a platoon consisting of six farmers and their trucks, and transported 75 bales of hay from Eastern Iowa to Colombus, Nebraska.
The group took just three days to collaborate and coordinate the delivery effort.
“Took us better part of the day yesterday (March 21) to just get the trucks ready and get the hay loaded, get it tied down, get it ready to go,” Broulik said.
The farmers understood the hardships their fellow countrymen faced and the need for hay to be delivered to stranded livestock.
“We said, ‘you know, we should take some hay out to the guys in Nebraska,’” Broulik said.
According to Steve Wellman, director of the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, food such as hay for livestock continues to be the biggest need for flood victims in the area, reported Wayne Daily News.
“When you have livestock and things go wrong, I can only imagine having to feed them after you’ve saved them. Somebody’s gotta help. So that’s what we’re gonna do,” Broulik said.
Images of the Nebraska flooding and its impact could be observed from space. These images deeply moved the farmers.
An unusually cold winter and intense spring storm came together to produce record-breaking floods on several rivers in Nebraska. Here’s the view captured by our @NASAEarth satellites: https://t.co/ltZQMW8gpB pic.twitter.com/wPKaYAmyLx
— NASA (@NASA) March 19, 2019
“It’s tough to see them people in that kind of shape,” Garnant told Fox News.
As well as donating hay, some people have also donated money.
“It’s just kind of what the farming community always does,” Garnant said.
Deliveries of Hay have continued to pour into Nebraska, such as from Derek Jilek and Chris Kubal along with other truckers, who delivered 200 tons of hay in nine loads from North Dakota to Fullerton, Nebraska. The delivery took place on March 30, reported KSFY.
After word got out of the truckers’ noble deed, locals lined the streets as the truckers were convoyed by police through the streets of Yankton.
“Once the word got out, because all of the local county sheriffs up here were posting it on Facebook, the more we were going, the word was getting out,” Jilek said.
“Some people had signs that said thank you and god bless. By the time we got to Yankton there had to be 1,000 people lining the streets.”
Jilek said it really filled his heart seeing the appreciation he and others received for helping out the flood victims.
“I mean we didn’t expect that they wouldn’t be appreciative, but we couldn’t have expected that kind of welcome I guess. It’s something we will never forget,” he added.
The National Army National Guard Soldiers have also assisted in the effort, airdropping bales of hay to cattle isolated by the floods on March 20, reported WOWT.
@NENationalGuard used a CH-47 Chinook helicopter with Co. B, 2-135th General Support Aviation Battalion, to secure multiple bales of hay, March 20, 2019 and airdrop them to cattle isolated by historic flooding across the state. (Nebraska National Guard video by Spc.Crawford) pic.twitter.com/Qd5IcJnwCo
— NE National Guard (@NENationalGuard) March 21, 2019
It’s in times of crises that the best can be brought out in people, and these farmers have definitely shown that through their nobel acts.
Nebraska’s Department of Agriculture has set up a hotline for those in need of assistance and those who would like to provide donations. Their hotline is 800-831-0550.
North Dakota farmers Chris Kubal and Derek Jilek wanted to help Nebraska farmers any way they could. A few social media posts later and the duo now has a team going with them this weekend to take hay, fencing and other items to farmers across Nebraska. https://bit.ly/2I4K11x
Posted by KUMV-TV on Thursday, March 28, 2019