How Farmers and Ranchers Deal with Hurricanes and Flooding

Extreme rain in the Midwest flooded a Kansas ranch
These are our ‘dry’ lots which were not so dry, obviously. Beyond the fence is our pasture which was under 3ish feet of water.

Between hurricanes on the east coast and fierce rains in the Midwest, there is a lot of water for farmers and ranchers to deal with in recent weeks. That might beg the question, what do farmers and ranchers do when hurricanes, extreme rains and flooding occur?

I can’t speak for those on the east coast but when the water starts rising in my Kansas pastures, the last thing on my mind is my house. Two weeks ago, we received 10 inches of rain in 24 hours and the very first thing I did was move horses and cattle to higher ground.

We transported our horses to my dad’s house and moved cattle to a pasture that drains easily and would not be in danger of being underwater. We also moved the dogs so they wouldn’t have to brave the water on their own.

After moving all the livestock, I put out clean, fresh hay on the dry ground for the cows to eat and made sure that all the cows and calves were accounted for before evacuating myself and my little cowgirl.

Cows were moved to the higher-ground pasture and were safe from flood waters.

It’s a lot of work to take care of livestock in normal circumstances but in extreme weather (rain, flood, snow, blizzard, wind, etc.) the difficulty is elevated. It would be much easier to just run for the hills and hope they are ok without our assistance but the right thing to do is to make sure they are as comfortable as possible in extreme weather.

In all weather emergencies, I can guarantee you that farmers and ranchers put their livestock and families first above land, material possessions and even their home. The night of the flood, I was sitting at my dad’s house knowing full well that my home could flood while I slept but, honestly, I was not super concerned. In the grand scheme, my family and friends were safe, my livestock were safe and reasonably comfortable, and we have flood insurance. I cannot control the water or the rain, but I can control my reaction to it and how I handle my responsibilities on the ranch.

I am thankful for the support of family and friends and will choose to be grateful for many blessings (even the rain), because I can replace carpet and a couch, but I can’t replace loved ones or livestock.

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

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