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Reader Interactions


  1. Laurie says

    The people who complain about cows not being in barns are the same people who complain about them being in barns.

    • jan says

      They will also be the same people who will complain about the price of milk rising due to the enormous cost to recover from this. Stay strong because these short-sighted people will never be able to see beyond their egotistical bubble they live in. Thank you for your hard work and dedication to farming, no matter the struggles.

    • J PAK says

      Forget the complainers. What are farmers going to do next time round ? Read the Weatheraction.com forecast of solar-lunar parameters, keep an eye on the wind patterns over at earth.nullschool.net and the f10.7 radio flux readings at one of the space-weather sites. As a farmer you may learn to predict when these extreme events are due and at least huddle up your livestock together with some extra feed for the duration of the storm.
      Hang in there cos worse is yet to come.

  2. Natalina Sents says

    “I think that’s bullshit. I absolutely hate seeing people in our own industry tearing each other down.” Well said! I couldn’t agree with you more!

  3. TikkTok says

    Nevermind the roofs caving in…..

    We recently moved from Roswell after almost 20 years. We are still part of the dairy {processing} industry.

    Roswell got 24+ inches of snow. The desert is not known for its snowplows Most roads statewide were shut down. Much of the milk for the cheese plant in Roswell comes from Clovis /Portales.

    Roads are still not clear, and it’s snowing again right now. Please pray for these folks {and the cows!}- they are appreciated.

  4. Erin says

    Thank you so much for posting this blog. People need to know what farmers and ranchers are facing right now in our state and Texas.

    • Edna Bobbitt says

      Amen! People who have not been brought up on a farm or ranch have no idea. Some are way too quick to criticize something they know absolutely nothing about.

  5. R. Hackman-Indiana says

    Dairy Carrie–right on target, again!! These farmers will feel the loss for many months. My prayers are with them!

    • D. Strack says

      No one should be commenting on the storm unless they have lived thur it. We are from Wis. but spent 5 yrs in Colorado and what a mess it can suddenly become. In wis. we are prepared for storms and yet a roof can fall in and power go out.

  6. Mary says

    The people that complain need to walk a mile I the shoes of those in Goliath I pray for you every day this is not an easy life any way but you do it because you love it.

  7. Kevin Dickson. Lubbock Tx. says

    This reminds me of the 1960 Ice storm in Eastern New Mexico.
    Dad owned a 100 head dairy 5 miles north of Causey.. Lost power for over a month. The National guard would come by once a week with a Generator for a couple hours.
    We would thaw water pipes with a Forney welder & get the well pumping . Fill water jugs, get a bath and wash down the milk barn.
    Had to use the pickup’s engine vacuum to slowly milk only 2 head at a time. Started 1st milking @ 3:00 am till 3:oo pm. Then a one/ two hour lunch break / nap and start milking again till 1 or 2:ooam .
    The only vehicle we could get around in was an 8N Ford tractor.
    Then , to top it off, The Health inspector show up on a surprise inspection to an unsanitized milk barn and rejects the milk for multiple reasons.
    The inspector should have considered Dad’s stress level before he ended up pinned against the barn wall with a warning to never show his face there again. LOL
    Somehow we survived and I don’t recall losing any cows , but Dad lost over a years megar income in the one month long disaster due to extra feeding cost & cows going dry ,etc.. Most miserable time of our life on the farm beyond a doubt.

    • gretchen maine says

      We are semi-retired dairy farmers in waterville, ny. You can’t imagine how hard we laughed over your stressed dad and the milk inspector! Sounds like something that would have happened here!

      • Dan says

        Leave it to the inspector to come and make matters worse, rather than helping the situation. Typical of Government.

      • Dan says

        Farming is so hard, there is very little you can do when mother nature comes at you like this. We all need to be supportive of these people in their time of need. If we live so far away we can’t go and physically help, the least we can do is not be critical of them

  8. Nancy Taylor says

    I think most people don;t know what these farmers go through to save their livestock. Big or small. You cannot predict such weather. We got the same haters when it happened in South Dakota. Most the Ranchers would give their right arm not to lose any life.

  9. Stephanie Bushman says

    Farmers and Ranchers, Love what they do. Thank God for them. They are strong and resilient. Its sad that there are people who dont understand and make judgements. The Old saying ” To Wear another mans shoes.” can go along way here.

  10. Reg Quist says

    I grew up in Alberta where harsh winters are a given. Unless a person has lived through those challenges there is no way to make them understand. In my novel Hamilton Robb, I tried to describe the famous ‘Children’s Blizzard’ of 1888. As extreme as some of the writing in the novel is, I knew the reality was far worse. Some times there just ae no words.

  11. gretchen maine says

    Dear Carrie,
    Thank you for what you do. People who aren’t farmers just don’t get it. It breaks my heart to see that so many animals were lost in the storm and the idiot remarks made about the farmers who had to go through it. Our biggest storm in central ny was probably the blizzard of “66 when milk still went in milk cans and we didn’t see a plow for several days. I just can’t imagine what those farmers went through with “Goliath”.

    • nohorseslaughter ortiz says

      I went through that one. Dad shoveled steps up to the top of the snow so us neighborhood kids could walk to Hempstead Tpke to get basic groceries for all the neighbors. Snow was about 4-5′ high & solid as a rock

  12. Leslie says

    I agree with you 100%!! Shouldn’t matter if you grow grain, orchards, or livestock, you are a part of agriculture and should be united and support each other. There is enough crap being spread from people who have no clue about the industry without tearing each other apart for what you should or shouldn’t do.

  13. Charlie Strawn says

    If some one can read this and not either rethink their ideas about who is to blame or have some compassion, they are what I refer to as fact free non thinkers. I pity their misinformed view of the world. Those who have lived this life and know, already realize it is a time for support and prayer. America should thank God for farmers, ranchers and dairymen three times a day when they say grace at each meal.

  14. Stan says

    We drove through the area on Monday the 28th right after the blizzard. I have never seen so much snow piled up. I also have never seen so many cars, semi’s and anything else abandoned along the roads or even on the road itself. Any farmer with any kind of tractor or anything else were trying to move snow. in towns businesses were closed, as well as stores, restaurants, because employees could not get to work as the side roads were not dug out yet. Meanwhile stranded travelers could not find anywhere to stay as the motels were filled, but no one could get anything to eat because everything was closed. I can only imagine what the dairy’s were going through.

  15. Lisa Halbert says

    I’m so glad you posted this Carrie. It is a very challenging and horrific act of Nature & she wouldn’t have shown any mercy on the “free” wildlife either. While people focus and like to blame the cattle losses on “big farms”, these storms kill EVERYTHING in their path. The dairies are doing their best to care for and save their animals. I’m across the lake from you & our dairy and others have used the big square bales like they did in NM to block wind in the winter, like the past 2 years with horrific windchills from the SOUTH. Having barns and hutches face south is supposed to allow sun in (when Michigan has sun in the winter ; o) and block NW, and primarily prevailing West wind. Nope we got -50 F from the south. I call these events ” desperate times, desperate measures”. We may learn some of helped saved animals (either preparation, during or afterwards….and it will be LONG AFTERWARDS-just imaging frozen teats, mastitis risk, eventually all thay snow melting, deep mud on already tired cows and people, aborted calves), improved infrastructure (electric lines -are they above ground or buried? We have buried ours after numerous outages), It is really hard telling how unusual or “common” these bizarre these extreme weather events are or if they may become patterns we dairy farmers will be stuck dealing with if/when further climate change is upon us. Having “average”/normal seasons seem to have gone out the window in Michigan at least & I can’t imagine 180 countries (or whatever the #) got together in France if there were not global concern.

    • Gloria James says

      We were in the cattle business in this area for over 30 years. Climate change? No. Bad storms such as Goliath happened several times. Only there were not many dairies in the area years ago. My grandparents were large dairy farmers from Germany. They settled in Southern Arizona. Having livestock in the panhandle region in the winter is cruel.

      • Miss Mac in TX says

        Yeah, bullshit. Wisconsin has plenty of cows and damn cold winters, too. I grew up in Iowa, surrounded by cattle, swine, and dairy farmers…family farmers! I drank RAW MILK right out of the DeLava storage tanks. It was glorious!!!
        There is nothing “cruel ” about raising cattle on the Texas high plains. Lots of grass, lots of room to roam.
        This was a FREAK STORM!!! Snownado. I now live in Dallas area. We are cleaning up from the 12 tornadoes that took out over 350 homes as total losses. Guess what? Same storm!!!

        • D. Strack says

          Thanks. Some days bullshit just fits like no other word! Like translating something from German, not always a word to fit.
          Sorry for your loses, can’t remember when the country had so much damage at the same time. Think the Lord is trying to get our attention!

  16. marc says

    The naming of Winter storms is all to do with the climate change agenda,not to belittle Goliath but by naming them it gives the impression that ordinary Winter weather is not ordinary winter weather anymore.

    • Steve says

      No, only the Weather Channel names winter storms. The NWS and the government have nothing to do with it.

  17. Susan says

    A good post … people who don’t know farming are quick to judge and yak it up from gut reactions … the story is always more complex when one investigates all sides of an issue/event. Thanks for your thoughtful approach here …

  18. Taryn says

    Wonderful stories! I am not in the farm or dairy business but live in the area you are talking about. Another big issue around Lubbock is loose herds. With all the wind and power outages a lot of cows got out. There were even cows loose on the loop and in residential yards. Farmers are still a week later trying to round up cows.

  19. hank good says

    No one works harder then a farmer. GOD BLESS EACH AND EVERYONE OF YOU. There will allways be those that think making others look bad some how makes them look good. As for the other critics , I can only say where were they during the blizzard ??.

  20. judy rauser snellman says

    to all stock owners and workers, my heart goes out to each and everyone of you. it is horrible to have to worry about the livestock when you can do nothing about it. people have no idea the extra work involved when the weather turns to shit. they also have no idea that this is someones whole way of life. it is very devasting. thanks for posting. good luck

  21. jill says

    We know farmers work dawn to dusk and i appreciate the effort. Sometimes nature at its worst just can’t be handled. I am sorry about the lose of livestock and wish all the best. I also know that as a farmer you will not give up.bless you all and good luck

  22. Kim sokolic says

    People need to live a day in the farmers shoes then they would understand how devastating this storm was I pray for all the families to recover from this massive storm

  23. Chris Whidden says

    Your painful story has reached even us Canadian farmers in the eastern Maritimes. I feel sick from reading it. That feeling is familiar to us in the Maritimes as the winter of 2015 stands out with record snowfalls, power outages, barn roofs collapsing, heart attacks from constant struggling with clearing snow, such extreme difficulty getting feed and fodder to animals, losses from dumped milk and – exactly as you describe it- lost production from all the stress. Our winter from hell started mid January and lasted until April and even later for some areas. I could go on, but I only want you to know we can relate to your feelings of pain and being overwhelmed by a killer storm that shouldn’t have happened in your part of the world in the first place. All bets are off now, where it concerns the weather. Maybe you will never have such a storm again for 100 years; I’m afraid you will, just as I’m afraid we will have another miserable winter. Good luck to you and all farmers dealing with this weather bomb; I will watch for your blog for updates.
    -Chris Whidden, Stewiacke, Nova Scotia.

  24. Merrilee Thomas says

    Anyone who has owned cattle, whether 1000-2000 or just a few like we do 160 head knows how devastating a winter storm can be. We had an ice storm several years back that shut down our electricity for 2 weeks and it was near impossible to get to the fields with hay wagons and flatbed pickups. When we made it none of the water tanks worked and we had to try to move cattle to places where there were ponds where we could break ice so they could drink. The cows didn’t want to go because they could barely stand up on the ice. Those you had newborn calves just abandoned them in trying to keep themselves alive. We lost several calves and a few cows. Losing cattle for a farmer of dairy man is very painful because you are always concerned about them and their well being. Never mind the financial loss which can be huge and take many years to recover from. We have also had cattle during blizzards and below 0 temperatures and many calves get trampled as the cattle try to huddle together to stay alive. A farmer or dairyman is always conscience about their animals and try their best to keep them safe and fed. My heart goes out to these people in N.M. Texas and Ok. May God be with them and help them recuperate their losses. There is no need to critizise them. You should have to talk in their shoes and see the truth with your own eyes. Then maybe you would have some compassion.

  25. Sandy says

    The next time you feel like bitching and complaining and about how bad we have it in Phoenix…. Take a minute and read this article about the dairies in West Texas…. We truly have no idea how rough it is for these Dairyman and their families!!! God bless our dairies❤❤❤❤

  26. Zama says

    Wonderfull recounting of the massive task and results of severe weather. I feel great anger that it is NOT COVERED IN OUR NEWS.
    One can only surmise WHY: “they” do not want our people to be aware of and think in time to regain our autonomy.

    • D. Strack says

      Nothing on the news here that I noticed but there was no time as the reporting time was filled with coverage of riots, same old who shot who and who was or was not responsible. Important too but once would do.

  27. Sue Robinson says

    You have every right to feel disgusted and I am right behind you! Still, I can’t help but hope that those criticisms come from an uninitiated but loud minority that will gain an education from your explicit post. Just maybe. My parents came from ranches and farms in Colorado to Alaska in 1946 to homestead. Over the years they had a small dairy, logged for their cabin with a team of horses, lived without roads, electricity, phones, dug their first well by hand, built a big log stacker to put up hay, raised beef and 5 kids, and put in the work to build a landmark beautiful place and a very successful construction business. We’ve dealt with a lot of tough situations but none on the magnitude of what you’re describing. Just enough that I can feel the desperation of those farmers and compassion for their critters. Our population gravitates more & more to urban places, jobs, & attitudes and they just don’t share the same experiences. Many of us still understand tho!

  28. John Amey says

    I have milked cows for 52 years and even though I have been spared from any such storms as have recently occurred in the southwest and other places , I often think of how ill prepared we are , financially and otherwise should a similar disaster ever come our way. I applaud Carrie for her blog and for all the farmers who have commented.
    We must remember that we are all in this together and no dairy farmer intentionally designs a facility that will cost the lives of their cattle. We are stronger if we work together and help each other.

  29. John Wayne says

    Great story and it illustrates the
    non-farmer environmental uninformed views about many issues. EPA for the most part employs many people who are trying to justify their jobs and their salaries by issuing regulation after regulation.

  30. Wes Young says

    My Brother-in-law and his wife help run a feed lot near Muleshoe. I know they did everything they could to get to their cattle. They lost 30 total. They worked day and night during and after the storm to get things up and going. They are exhausted and to have others complaining. Be kind, support your fellow farmers and ranchers. This affects all of us. God bless you all in all you do.

  31. David Small says

    Great story. I went to college in Lubbock, and know the area. So few people understand how food is produced this kind of article is more important than I ever believed.

  32. Sheila jones says

    Do not criticize thy neighbor until you have walked a mile in their shoes…..
    People that bitch about cows being neglected don’t know a damn thing about what it takes to run a farm or dairy, and I’m a city girl!

    • Dee says

      You are so right. This is the stuff that America needs to see on the news instead of what movie star is ~~~~~~~~~, this is their food/leather and a few more things and there are only a few (percentage wise) doing all this and at the mercy of gov’t rules and the weather!

  33. Deana says

    There are lot of people out there quick to judge without knowing what processes are involved. May God heal your worries and take care of you all! Know that you did everything you could possibly do with what Mother Nature gave you. Those complaining will know karma when it is time. Hugs and prayers for quick recoveries.

  34. Laurie LaGrone says

    Excellent article with devastating photos. I thank you for taking the time and care to educate the rest of us. I have shared this on Facebook.

    I live in a dairy community and grew up on the family dairy, 400-cow milking herd. We faced challenges unique to California but NOTHING like what you describe. I can’t stop thinking about the surviving herds – those who lived probably dried up and that just adds to the losses for these poor dairymen. My heart goes out to them and I hope the weather eases up on them, and the government gives them a hand up and out of this dire situation. I won’t hold my breath for either, however.

  35. Janet says

    I’m so sorry for your loss and the loses of all farm’s and dairy’s in our area that were affected by this storm. Don’t pay attention to the people that don’t understand your industry. They don’t realize what hard work and dedication goes into the dairy, ranching our farming industries. Keep up the good work you do to keep the rest of us fed. Thank you from one city dweller that grew up in a farm!!!

  36. Sarah Jones says

    I am reading this from New Zealand and while we have difficulty with Save Animals From Exploitation charity group harassing our farmers to the point of their followers threatening our farmers with abuse (and threatening that of children, or anyone in gumboots) and telling them to top ourselves, we simply cannot compare with this. We hope this doesn’t happen again and that all can recover (to some extent) relatively quickly from this.

  37. Betty Callahan Norman says

    Farmers do everything they can to protect their animals! That’s their livelihood. Bad weather happens. That’s farming! But they go on!
    I grow up on a farm. Thanks for all your hard work !

  38. Kenneth Bracelin says

    This story needs to get out, not only the Dairies, but all the other cattlemen and ranchers! They have terrible losses with this storm! I pray that you all get help for your losses!

  39. happytailsrescue says

    Living in South/Central Washington state with horses, goats, chickens and a Rottweiler Rescue Sanctuary, am sure you could easily identify that there is the “city” mentality and some of their unrealistic expectations and then the rural folk who do the hard outdoor work irrespective of the conditions…we just do it. City slickers believe every shred of manure should be mucked off of a 20 acre pasture with 3 horses or find it gross that chickens are the best landscapers following behind the other animals, or why don’t they have blankets on them, instead of thick coats and the list goes on and on…,.

    When extreme conditions hit, there isn’t a pause button while a variety of plans are considered or a rewind to change the conditions of the best decision made at the time. 3 days ago I chose to bail out of our 6,000 lb Suburban as it slid out of control down out steep, curvy, ice rink drive way. I would make the same decision again. The driver had no control but the tires stayed in the grooves and was a more of less controlled slide down, while I opened the door, checked the skid direction and chose to jump for the snow, rather than ice and surprised myself by landing on my feet…and our conditions were no comparison to yours…

    Everyone in those geo engineered conditions made the best deceison at the time considering themselves and livestock…Tell tongue waggers to take a hike!

  40. emsnews says

    I live on a mountain in upstate NY and used to farm it but due to husband’s severe disability, we ended our farming. One thing about here: we have to always prepare for winter blizzards since they are fairly frequent.

    This means we own chains to put on the tractors, the trucks, everything. We have two snow plows and a snow blower. We have reinforced roofs and outbuildings.

    I grew up on a ranch in Tucson, AZ. We had rare snow storms that melted fast. No chains on tires, no snow machines, nothing. Our animals used sheds for shelter mainly from the sun. Any snow storm that hits Tucson, even small ones, paralyzes the place. Here in NY, we barely notice them unless they are major, major blizzards.

    Many years ago, we had a very severe blizzards with winds over 90 mph and had to move the sheep into the house and the windows facing the blizzard nearly blew out and we boarded them up during the storm as the glass was flexing out of the frames! It was terrifying and the snow drifts took some of the snow over the roof.

  41. tom hildebrannd says

    FARMING!!! the ONLY business in the united states where you are NOT allowed to set prices for what you produce

  42. Tammi Littrel says

    Thank you for posting this information. As a witness to Atlas I can tell you what we saw and dealt with is exactly what folks are going through now. I have had lots of time and sleepless nights to think about it and would like to offer a few thoughts. Initially it is bad enough to deal with how to get to the survivors, get feed to them and working around the clock against time without negative comments and blogs from people who have no clue. When you don’t hear anything reported about the storm you wonder why no one cares or if ag producers are that insignificant that something this huge and tragic doesn’t make the news. Then you start to hear negative comments and blogs, some that come from folks in your hometown and you get angry. That I will never forget. In our town they actually wanted to call in the National Guard to pick up limbs in their yards while not one mile outside of town tens of thousand of cattle died. They were whining that the town looked like a war zone due to the storm and all the downed trees. I posted they should see the battle field in the countryside with the dead and dying. That was not appreciated I can tell you as finding someone to clean up their downed tree branches was the most important thing to them. I knew then what I had always suspected Ag took a back seat to whatever was going on with the city folk.

    I was contacted by a reporter from an eastern NE newspaper about why the cattle weren’t in their barns when the storm hit. I told her apparently you do not grasp the scope of our ranches or operations( not to mention we didn’t have barns big enough to hold all these cattle and calves). One neighbor who had fall calvers tried to save a group of cows in a barn and lost some due to suffocation. But to this reporter’s credit, she wanted to understand and report from the producer’s perspective. She asked for photos and I sent her some very benign (if there is such a thing) ones which her editor rejected as they would upset their readers. It was then that she began to understand what we were dealing with.

    On our place there are two big cattle burial grounds still not grassed over. We had over 400 head of neighbor’s cows drift in from as far away as 20 miles and die on about 10 sections of land. Finding those cows and having to call their owners was heart wrenching. One owner was an elderly neighbor and I remember telling his daughter,” Don’t let your Dad come up here, its bad”. I just could not stop crying and cried for days at every new discovery of more dead cows but after awhile there were no tears left to cry but the deep soul twisting feeling of loss became a constant companion.

    The days spent sorting storm bruised cattle and orphaned calves and moving them back to where they belonged was hell. Finding dead cows in fences and draws and creek beds seven months after the storm, a vivid reminder of how powerful and destructive mother nature can be. Living through this changes forever how you react to any mention of snow in the forecast.

    Please know that producers who have been through this understand what you are going through and how you are suffering. We are so very sorry for your losses. Our thoughts and prayers are with you now and as you deal with the repercussions of this storm in the future.

  43. jan says

    Sad and I understand more. Thank you for clarifying. My heart aches for their loss. Pain is unfathomable.jnen

  44. Denton Baker says

    How do we get the message out to the people not reading this blog. Dairy farms are having a tough time and are some of the hardest working people I know.

    • D. Strack says

      Sorry to say but if you shoot someone black, you will get air time. I’m not saying that they shouldn’t get air time but that is what is getting the attention. Never mind that the people that make our food and shoe/purse leather are in great need of help and prayers.

  45. Nesikep says

    The squeaky wheel gets the grease… While the farmers are out *DOING* something about what’s going on, the armchair critics are complaining about branches in their yard, etc. The farmers are too busy doing something about what’s going on to defend themselves from these ignorant idiots with whacky agendas.

    I have a small herd of beef cows, and they’re pretty rugged and can handle some pretty harsh weather.. but one year we got freezing rain on top of a heavy snow, we lost 2 greenhouses, nearly lost the shop and hay shed, and the cows were stuck in the field, unable to move on the snow/ice.. And that was very mild compared to what Goliath brought.

    I wish all the farmers strength in these hard times

  46. Chris Jensen says

    Thank you for writing this. I am not in agriculture, I do IT consulting. I wanted to understand why the losses were so high, and found your article while doing research. You did a great job at explaining this tragedy. It truly is a tragedy, and you guys are definitely in our thoughts and prayers. And I agree, at times like this it is counter productive to blame the people and businesses that have suffered so much.

  47. Francie says

    You would think the ranchers who lost livestock in ‘Storm Atlas” in October 2013 would be the first to step up to help – since so many came to their rescue. What are those folks doing to help?

  48. Frank says

    Most people don’t understand cattle. They bunch up when the weather gets bad. Doesn’t matter the breed. You can feed them and block the wind but their first instinct is to bunch up. When they bunch up for a long period of time disaster occurs. Weather your a dairyman or cattleman your in for trouble when the wind and snow blows!

  49. Jennifer says

    Cows should have shelter. Period. Farmers only care about making $ instead of the welfare of the animals. Farmers are completely at fault. Why don’t they stand outside in the snow if it’s not a big deal.

    • dairycarrie says

      I think you really missed a lot of the information in this post. You should try reading it again.

      • Jennifer says

        I already read it. If it means investing in shelter that would withstand weather, that would make sense. The amount of money would be worth it in the end. But again, farmers look at them as animals and nothing more.

        • dairycarrie says

          Do you live in a home that can withstand a hurricane, earthquake, tornado, flood and blizzard?

        • Charles Sublette says

          What do you know about their disposable income? How do you know the “amount of money would be worth it in the end”?

          The idea that these folk only care about $ rather than animal welfare is ludicrous… since their animals make their $ possible…

          A silly notion a business should bankrupt them self so to make folk like you to simply “feel good”…

          …everything is not as black and white as you make it out to be…

          …Show some heart and understanding for these folk…

    • D. Strack says

      If you have a coat like a cow that has been out on the range you would be happy to be outside. They would get too warm inside a barn. Where I am, they are inside and never on the range and then you take a chance of the roof falling in. Extreme weather is just that. If all could be controlled, there would be no houses floating down the rivers and people dying.

  50. Jennifer says

    You need to prepare and have a home that withstands that area. Where I am located, yes I would be prepared. Especially if I was caring for such a large amount of animals, I would 100% have shelter. If they prefer to be outside, that’s fine. It is at least provided. There are ways to provide sufficient housing where roofs wouldn’t fall in.

      • Gloria James says

        I have penned cattle in Clovis, NM when the chill factor was 40 below zero. An April, 1956 blizzard killed 10,000 head of mother cows in Union County, NM alone. In the late 1800’s an entire train of sheep perished in the snow near Texline, TX. They just buried the train along the tracks. Blizzards always have and always will happen in this area. Study your history.
        Then decide if you want livestock there in the winter. I learned the hard way.

        • Charles Sublette says

          There are risks everywhere you go…Disposable income dictates you can have 100% safety by prevention… sometimes… You just have to survive the worst and hope you have a good enough retained earnings to continue the livelihood…

          I wonder if you would apply the same standard to those whom died and suffered during hurricane Sandy and Katrina.

          … easier said than done to say they “should have never been there” or “they should have spent the money to do more”…

        • Charles Sublette says


          Disposable income dictates you can NOT have 100% (or even 90%) safety by prevention…

  51. Steve says

    “The powers” did not start naming winter storms. This is an invention of the Weather Channel, and has no support from the National Weather Service.

  52. Jennifer says

    Even if this is not typical weather for those areas, what about when it rains, hails, is windy..also those weather conditions? Why shouldn’t shelter be available? It doesn’t make sense.

      • Gloria James says

        My grandparents came to this country from Germany and operated a large dairy in Phoenix, Arizona. Even in Arizona they provided huge barns so their cows could get out of cold rains, and especially the mud. If we are going to confine them in a pen, we should provide some protection from the elements. They can’t just go out and get under a cliff or find some high ground as animals do in the wild. I have seen animals laying on top of dead animals in the pens in order to get out of the mud. And yes I do know they might smother in a shed in a blizzard, but strategic placing of snow fencing can help. It is up to each farmer or cattleman to decide if it is worth it.

      • TikkTok says

        That comment is particularly funny to me. We always say Roswell has two season- windy, and hot and windy. Nevermind the haboobs. Or the periodic tornado. And this in an area where NO ONE has basements because it’s over bedrock. I suppose during the high heat {usually 100+ from May-September} they need to have AC? People need to get a clue…..

        And while I’m at it, they aren’t set up for huge amounts of rain, either…..

        • Gloria James says

          A blizzard at Roswell during the late 40’s piled snow 2 stories high. Since that time there have been many deadly snow storms in the area. People just need to study the history of any area
          and be aware of and prepare for what can happen. The cost of protecting livestock from severe
          elements might be worth it when one compares it to death loss, loss of gain, milk loss, and disease that result from weather such as this. And I’m not even mentioning the suffering.

        • Charles Sublette says

          Gloria, what do you know of their disposable income to suggest the “costs might be worth it”?

          That’s right… these diary families are simply getting rich…. so they simply do not care about improving risk mitigation to ensure they can continue to their livelihood… if only these rich diary families simply spent the money to prepare for these bad storms… I wish these diary families were simply getting rich by not do this… which couldn’t be further from the truth…

  53. Danny Taggert says

    Is your vocabulary really so limited as to require vulgar words in title? Get some class and overcome your tasteless choice of terms.

    • dairycarrie says

      There are many words that I could have used, however bullshit was the word that fit the sentiment I was going for the best.
      Are you really so prude that you can’t handle keeping your thoughts to yourself when you don’t like someone’s choice of words and you must try to insult them?

      • Danny Taggert says

        If raising my kids in a culture of decency is something you deny me, who is being prude?Most of us genuine farm people admire a certain degree of dignity and respect from our peers.

        • Danny Taggert says

          And if your language is so acceptable, why do you yourself beg for a pardon on the very next line? Please clean it up. We are all better than that.

  54. dirk says

    this is a nightmare for all involved but with global warming kicking into high gear the now outdated idea of once in a 100yr storms needs to be laid to rest and people need to farm in the weather as we have made it.

  55. Sue says

    That was a disaster for all. People in cities will never understand the devastation, nor the suffering both to the cattle & the people who spend their lives caring for them. My prayers for all.

  56. Reina Kerr says

    As a grower of humanely raised grass fed beef in the state of Tennessee, we send our sincere condolences to all of our brother and sister farmers, who feed the entire US, with their day in and day out perseverance in performing their duties. We had tornadoes and severe flooding in our state this Christmas. There is no protection great enough from the extreme forces of nature..and us country folk, know this. We appreciate the people from the city who think of our stock as they do of their “pets” but if we were to quit producing the cream for their coffee, the steaks for their BBQ’s. and the leather for shoes, belts, and purses…what would they say then? It’s a hard life for farmers, for they love their stock, they try harder than words can express, to care for and secure their cattle. No one and no building, can stand up to a tornado. God bless you and keep up the good work !

  57. dairydecider says

    I am a dairy farmer and very much appreciate the outreach and effort you make on your site to bridge the growing gap we face every day between producers and consumers. In our increasingly transparent and social-media world it is inevitable for a variety of view-points to surface, some of them which you may take issue with. I think a little soul searching is a healthy activity from time to time, as long as you keep an open mind. This storm and the consequences are tragic and still not known its full magnitude as the dairies are still literally digging out. I wish all of the staff, farmers, and industry folks the best as they have a lot of hard and emotional work ahead of them.

    I used to work for dairies in that area and witnessed the transformation of the industry from the mid 90’s when the big milk processing plants began locating there for a source of cheap milk to fill their plants with. One of the reasons for cheap milk is, as you say, the cows mostly did not require expensive barns ‘most’ of the time. Over time this evolved as standard practice as feed lot dairies took 60-75% less capital than their full freestall barn counterparts, which are a general feature in most all of the other regions of the US regardless of weather, earthquake, flood, wind, tornado conditions. In other words, the milk processors expanded there because they could get away with the lack of housing most of the time and dairies could build/expand cheaper. For the bad weather that came around every few years, the losses were called the ‘cost of doing business’ and you moved on. But this was obviously a bad storm and some may not be able to move on.

    Perhaps the industry was on borrowed time. When we build we assess storm strength, snow load (even though a snow event is not normal), 50 year flood levels, etc. It is part of the risk assessment you make and the responsibility you take when you care for animals and run a business. Lenders require you to mitigate certain risks, insure many of the others. I don’t blame the producers or staff. However, I do question the motives of the processors in the area that does not even pay enough to shelter these animals for the winter. The irony now is their plants will run less than full for the foreseeable future (undermining the plant’s profitability) and there will be much hand-wringing in the lending community in search of a way forward. I expect after this storm that new construction projects without more robust shelters/barns will have difficulty getting financed. I am hearing that there are some total losses, and that completely changes the banking world going forward.

    I’m sorry if these facts are ‘bullshit’ to use your nomenclature but they are the facts on the ground. Maybe it is too soon to discuss, but in today’s instant media it is hard to keep up. Cheers and good work on your poignant blog!

    • Charles Sublette says

      Finally, someone who gets it…

      Disposable income and business equity dictates what can be done.. including what can NOT be done for risk mitigation…

      …Of course, there are simply poor operators that make one too many bad decisions leading to the ruination of their outfit, but the majority of them in this area are not like that since the poor operators are forced to leave prior to bad events like this…

      You are absolutely correct about risk mitigation financing difficulties due to this storm hitting…

      …will take a while until confidence by financial institutions is garnered to help these folk…

  58. Charles Sublette says

    The “better safe than sorry” crowd suggesting these folk “don’t really care about their animals” and “they could have done more” portrays to me these critics are motivated by “feelings” rather than business acumen.

    Reminds me of how critics, the environmentalists, and politician abused farmers during the Dust Bowl by stating, “these farmers are unwanted WEEDs in an area that should have never been farmed and should be treated as such.” My grandfather essentially told them where to go and he moved to this area to START his family lineage farming, which in later in the years by historians was deemed to be the epic center of the dust bowl. I am still here today, 3rd generation, thanks to the efforts of folk wanting to educate others, such as Howard Finnell, and government, thanks to President Roosevelt, financially helping out with retooling where it reasonably could be applied…

    There is definitely more education needs to be done for dairy farmers… Temporary, snow fences could have prevented some of the snow drifts, but the fences definitely are not a “sure thing”… not exactly cheap either considering the number of acres that would be needed… After considering their disposable income, not exactly a “black and white” decision to decide whether to build a few $100,000 sturdy barn to withstand 80mph wind with blowing snow to protect their cattle…

    As the old saying goes…. “..either it is Feast or Famine…” …applies also to dairy farmers… unless folk want to start paying a significant premium for their milk…

    I just hope the operators in this area stashed away enough cash to survive this…

    My prayers are with the unfortunate operators hit hard by this storm. Godspeed.

  59. Charles Sublette says

    Forgot to say…

    Excellent article Dairycarrie..

    A shame on our news outfits this is not significantly reported… sadly, my guess is the “death toll” is not high enough to matter much to the “feelings” driven news networks…

    Dairycarrie, I very much appreciate your time in writing this!!

  60. rebeccatreeseed says

    I had snowdrifts up to my waist trying to get to my chicken coop. I can’t imagine a herd of cattle. I couldn’t get out for 2 weeks, 30 inches from Goliath then 5 days of snow the next week.

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