The Untold Story: American Agriculture and the Bomb Cyclone of 2019

The wind howled. It howled, and howled, and howled. The windows iced over from the rain, snow, and cruel winds making it difficult to see the drifts forming near the tree line. The cows stood, piled together for warmth, backs turned to the blowing storm. We huddled inside; longing to make it out to “the girls” to check on them. Some relief was to be had with every calf “on the ground” in the barns; protected from the conditions outside. But what about the cows yet to calve? How can we get to them with zero visibility? The only thing we could do was wait the storm out; they’re always the most painstaking hours, waiting.

American Agriculture as a whole is always under an immense amount of scrutiny. With the recent extreme weather events, our country’s farmers and ranchers have sacrificed countless hours and resources to continue to fuel the nation. Regardless of the misleading animal rights activists or fear-mongering regarding genetically modified crops, we continue to work and supply food for the American people and the world. I don’t think that the general population has any idea how much work it takes to supply food and fuel to EVERYONE. Everyone has to eat, therefore, Agriculture is important to the well being of every individual in this country. Not only have these fly-over states been dealing with horrific weather conditions and the aftermath of them, but we also deal with a difficult climate to navigate in the media, politics, and the public eye. Why are the flyover states and the hard-working producers within those states not worthy of national news coverage? The people who provide a safe, reliable, and affordable source of food and fiber to the American People suffering horrible tragedy and loss in this extreme weather event should be more important than anything else the networks can cover.

The Bomb Cyclone blizzard of 2019 was BRUTAL. Like all storms, the tail is still whipping around and leaving destruction in it’s path. Nebraska is under water, Colorado had the worst blizzard in decades, livestock is lost and dead, and where is the national news coverage? We had a hurricane in middle America, and nothing. Several blips here and there on the news about farmers and ranchers digging out horses and cattle, but that’s it. If you haven’t seen the harrowing photos; long-faced ranchers standing over a dead cow and calf, or the farms rushed away by the surging waters of the Missouri and Platte Rivers, it’s absolutely soul-crushing. These people deserve to be heard, they deserve to be helped, they deserve for the country to see what they go through and sacrifice to put food on the Nation’s tables.

Regardless of the criminalization of Agriculture, we continue to work and try and pick up the pieces after the Bomb Cyclone to continue to provide food and fiber to the American people. Whole farms and ranch’s have been buried in water and mud, countless cattle have suffocated in the blustering snow, producers are reaching down in the deepest parts of themselves to push through this horrific event and continue to carry on. Producers care more about protecting and caring for our livestock and animals more than we do ourselves. Our farmers and ranchers deserve so much more respect, loyalty, and praise for what they sacrifice; for what they go through not just on this day, but everyday, to put food on our tables. The Midwest needs recognition for the natural disaster we have just endured.

For most, the Bomb Cyclone was just an inconvenience; a snow day or a day off from work, and snow piling up on the driveway and streets. But for Ag and producers, it was days of preparation before- hand to protect livestock, it was days of getting out in the aftermath of the storm looking for animals and assessing damages, it was mourning the loss of your cows that had provided so much for your family, it was choking back tears as you look over your families farm of 3 generations being swallowed by surging waters, it was so much more than “just a blizzard.” For the strong and courageous people and producers of central and eastern Nebraska, it’s still going on. I implore you today, to pray for our producers, for our farmers and ranchers, and for our livestock. I ask you to please educate yourself about Agriculture and ask questions if you don’t know. I ask you to please support all of the people who provide nutrition and fuel to your family. I ask you to pray for Colorado and Nebraska. Today, and everyday, God Bless America and God Bless the American Farmer and Rancher.

55 thoughts on “The Untold Story: American Agriculture and the Bomb Cyclone of 2019

    • Clarice, thank you so much for taking the time to read the blog! Thank you for the reminder about these other agricultural states impacted by the Bomb Cyclone! At the time I wrote it, the flood waters were still traveling through Nebraska.
      Take care and God Bless!

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      • Not all people are blind. Been watching TWC, Weather Nation, reading state patrol reports,
        Norfolk news, Omaha World Herald, Sioux City Journal, Lincoln paper, Grand Island. Passing it along and praying. Stay strong my friend. God will see the Midwest thru. This nation’s true HEARTland. The real heartbeat of America!

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  1. Very well said! Thank you for putting food on our tables! Growing up in Iowa and working in Omaha for 30 years makes us appreciate where we come from! The rest of the world just assumes hamburger or steak will just automatically show up in the meat aisle! Thank you again. Hang in there and hold your head high!!!

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    • Cheryl, thank you so much for your kind words! Yes, absolutely, the general population has very little knowledge about where their food comes from. That’s what we’re trying to do… bridge the gap between producer and consumer so that we can all be more educated about how food gets from our ranch to your table!

      Keep fighting the good fight! Thank you for being a friend to The less than 2%!

      Thanks so much and God Bless!

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      • I live in Iowa and grew up on a farm. I married a farmer in 1969. We loved the farm but were forced to sell because of low prices and my husbands health. We actually tried twice to farm. We had two farm sales only earning enough to pay our bank all the money we owed and enough to secure a loan to buy the local grocery store and build a home in the town of the community we loved. We closed the store because of lack of business and both got jobs. I went back to school and my husband heiped my dad and brother farm. When health kept my husband from farming he worked for a pharmacy and I worked in a nursing home. We have 3 children and 5 grandchildren. My husband died in 2016 after enduring numerous heart problems, surgeries, amputations and pain. I now live in the same home we built 35 years ago.
        Yes I know how the world is feed by hardworking farmers and know the losses farmers take. God bless the farmers for all they do!

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      • Yes!We here in Dayville OR experienced a lot of cold for this region and very heavy wet snow during calving. My husband and I just bought this ranch end of Nov when we sold most of our SW ND ranch… And thank God we did. Bcs my nephew is running his cows on our remaining land there and if we’d had stayed, coupled with horrible calf prices for the 2019 fall run and then a bad winter, my husband & I would have been forced to sell of/rent everything out.
        Here in Dayville, we were calving in end of Jan during conditions we thought relatively easy as seasoned North Dakotans. But it was still too high of a death loss for us, with the ground conditions being very different from what we were used to (slimy volcanic soil when wet).
        Our neighbors lost a LOT of calves. And now pneumonia has set in for many of their calves. Deaths here are high in Eastern Oregon.

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  2. Thank you for all you have done for the people of this nation. Everything in life is a privilege and many think they are entitled! South Dakota thanks you!

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      • I raise sheep in Colorado so I understand what you are saying. Most folks have NO CLUE what it takes to get food on THEIR TABLES. They think it just comes on trucks to the grocery store. 😥😪
        The loss of farmland And your homesteads along with the livestock is NOT RECOVERABLE. Picking up the PIECES of your LIVES will be a daunting task. I’m sure some folks won’t be able to ‘manage’ the task. 😞😪🙏🙏🙏🙏🐑

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  3. To all who have lost so much! Please know the world and our country is praying for you! Be thankful that the media is not in your face, they would never do it justice! I will pass this on to all my Facebook friends and family. I will continue to pray for you all! Peace and prayers from Belize!🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🇺🇸🙏🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

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  4. Not just the Platte and Missouri rivers. The Platte and Missouri and every river in between. The Niobrara, Elkhorn, all branches of the Loup, Cedar and so many more. I have never seen so much of the state impacted by such severe flooding at one time.

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    • Paula, thank you so much for taking the time to read the blog! I apologize for not including these directly, I was trying to make a more broad point that two major rivers were flooding, along with its tributaries and other rivers in the state. We continue to pray for Nebraska and are terribly devastated by the damage this major weather event has caused. Our hearts are with you.

      Thanks so much and God Bless!

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    • My family either. We walked around and saw water everywhere. Never before that we can remember and we all are in our low 70s, except my son, 40. He drove us around. It was unbelievable.

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  5. I live in northwestern Nebraska where we were hit just as hard. We had flooding first than 2 foot of snow with the wind and now are flooding again. Thanks for the blog, I just hope our whole natoreads it and realizes what we are going through and will be for the weeks to come.

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  6. Well said! I was raised on a small farm in Boyd County. The loss of the Spencer dam is unfathomable & to all dealing with losses blizzard related & flood related it pains me to see the pictures but to know how much it hurts the farmers & ranchers who cared for their livestock & had no alternatives. Thank you for writing this article.

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    • Soul crushing is a perfect sentiment for this tragic moment in the lives of the people who bring food to our tables. This was a triple threat to these families. Storms, snow and sun zero temperatures then flooding when they are trying to get back on their feet. The loss of so much livestock will take years to get back to the same place. How can we assist in the most efficient way? Can donations be made directly to a family farm?
      You’re words are a powerful force for good. Thanks for sharing

      Mark

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  7. THank you for writing this article…born and raised in Nebraska, with many relatives still there, have been praying for each one affected by this
    Horrendous storm …and will continue to do so . 🙏🏻😢🙏🏻😢
    Have sent a small contribution but wish it was many times more!
    May God bless you …each and every one.🙏🏻😢❤️🙏🏻

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  8. I have watched the coverage about the flooding in the eastern half of Nebraska. So tragic! But after each broadcast I would wonder where was the coverage about the blizzard in Western Nebraska. Thank you for bringing that story to light.

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  9. Thank you for your blog! Praying for all of you. I lived in OK for many years. I know first hand the aftermath of a weather disaster. The overwhelming feeling of devastation and loss. The inconceivable months of clean up. The irreversible damage to infrastructure …Many of us are praying for you, weeping with you.

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  10. My heart goes out to y ou all. Be thinking about you and wondering why there wasn’t much more on the news. All those states should be declared a disaster area. As significant as when New Orleans flooded just wha fewer humans. As significantly important as you feed most of us.

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  11. I did see some tv news coverage of pig ranchers in Nebraska who lost so many of their pigs in the floods. It was terrible! I was deeply moved! I had no idea of the devastation. So sad how the news media did not give enough coverage of the aftermath of the bomb cyclone and flooding. They are way too political these days. People who aren’t farmers or ranchers just don’t know how much you all go through, including myself. We take y’all for granted and we shouldn’t. We will definitely pray for all of you. Thank you for sharing. Have you possibly set up a “go fund me” account yet?

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  12. You are not forgotten!
    Thank you for continuing to grow and produce for the U.S.
    My family is from north eastern NE, pork producers mostly, and we appreciate your voice for all of us.

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  13. From South Dakota, I’m passing your words out to the world. From a farmer/rancher’s daughter, I thank you for sharing. ❤️

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  14. I think you hit a few nails right on the head here. I live in Western PA and see very little on the news about this disaster, and have a few friends out there. Getting the impression that the coastal elites really do not care about the fly-over “deplorable” states that feed them. A very localized mudslide in CA gets coverage, flooded Midwestern small towns and fields barely get mentioned. Just another sign of how divided this nation is.

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  15. I am praying for you every day. I grew up on an Iowa farm (a long time ago) and my father was flooded out two years in a row. I know I don’t know everything you are going through, but probably have a better understanding than a lot of people. First there is the disaster, but then there is the aftermath. Most people can’t fathom the aftermath. And many people don’t understand the heartbreak. There is the heartbreak of the loss plus the extreme exhaustion of the cleanup and just dealing with it all. I will continue to pray for you in many days to come.

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    • Praying for all who have been impacted, from out in California. Our household consists of two ladies who were born and raised in southwestern Iowa. Many small towns and more farms there devastated in these floods too. We know something of how those floods take over, but this sounds so much worse than anything either of us remembers from our childhood days there.

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  16. My heart goes out to all my compadres in ag. We in western Wyoming have had a tough, expensive winter, but not the catastrophic losses suffered to the east of us. The Washington Post and Fox News have been doing a lot of coverage. It is an ongoing story, sadly.

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  17. Thank you for feeding me and my family. I’m sorry you all have to experience such devastation and loss. Maybe when the rest of the country wants to know why the price of beef has gone up, they will realize what you all went through and be thankful for what you do.

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  18. Thank you from Seattle, Washington for all you do for us! My North Dakotan sister sent me this. I’m so sorry for all of your losses. Thank you for keeping on keeping on through such hardship. We appreciate what you all do for us. I will be praying for all of you.
    Bonnie

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  19. Thank you for sharing your perspective. This is truly a tragic time for ranchers, farmers, and all of the Ag community in the “fly over” states of America as well as other hard working individuals and families in the Midwest. I grew up in SanFrancisco and then lived most of my adult life in New York City. 20 years ago I moved to Nebraska. I have learned to respect this part of the country and have been grateful to learn deep wisdom, especially from those who feed the rest of the world. I’m an old lady but I will be there to help any way I can to support my adopted state on the cleanup and restoration process. God bless you for your efforts in keeping the rest of the country informed of the truth.

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  20. It is heart wrenching to see the pictures of all the destruction. I grew up in a metropolis, well ok, it was Dannebrog, NE. Population 380 or so. I worry too about people not realizing how much farmers and ranchers impact their lives. I think there are people that believe the meat comes from the freezer section behind the meat counter. I pray for all that has been impacted and pray that the farmer and rancher can recover from this detriment. The world would be in trouble if they cannot recover from this. Good bless you and yours!

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  21. Read the entire entry and have had several friends who have grown up in the rural areas of Nebraska and Colorado and though it wreaked havoc here in the city before it was hitting back there – people forget that the farmers are a major component to our wider region around here in the western part of the U.S. One of the first things I thought about was that they do not even issue what they used to call in the old days a “Stockman’s Advisory” for the farmers when chilly or potentially devastating weather was moving in. Like everything else it has now become unimportant and it is a sign of the attitude and changes. I mentioned that a friend of mine from my railroad days mentioned to me this morning how bad the devastation was back there and throughout the state not only for the rails that pass by and traverse the farmland but those ranches and property are just as she put it in “shambles.” Having had Great Grand parents back there who lived through the “Dust Bowl” that is the only comparison I can think of to this as to how bad it was where it caused so much wide spread damage just everywhere. Prayers to all of you and for those of us who still have a few relatives and friends in the farm country there and a few other areas – we are hoping and praying that the recovery is swift and that the rebuilding will come soon. I think the Great Grand Parents in Wood River would have said something about going to work in the fields and in the briar patches to take your minds off the problems – meaning actually do something to move forward and not obsess on the bad but start working on re-building for the good again. May God be with you all recovering and we will be watching the re-building as we get news about a barn raising or the next set of calves or piglets being born or the crop of grain to go to harvest. – Todd T.

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  22. I grew up on a dairy farm, continued with 4-H in my teenaged years, and to this day have a tiny little “farm” out in the Arizona desert. Although I have just a few animals – horses, goats and chickens – I know I would be devastated if anything ever happened to any of them. I know well the struggles of dealing with weather (in my case the heat), of fighting to save livestock in adverse conditions and of devastating losses due to circumstances beyond one’s control. It also saddens me just how far removed the general public is now removed from the way food is produced, the misconceptions truly appall me at times. I will continue to pray for all of those affected by the horrible tragedies of the past few weeks – may God Bless the American Rancher and Farmer.

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  23. Grew up on a large registered Angus ranch in Montana. Now a “city girl” in Virginia. I will never forget making daily sacrifices that a farmer/rancher and their families make. Weather and mother nature is so fickle and a farmer is at her mercy. God Bless the USA and the American farmer. BTW – still don’t buy my beef in the meat aisles at the grocery store. Buy 1/2 beef every six – nine months from a local farmer. Virginia, too, is very much an agriculture state, especially in my Shenandoah Valley.

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  24. I grew up on the Mississippi river in Minnesota, so I’m very familiar with floods and the damage that they can do. My husband and a daughter did graduate work at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, so we have a great affection for the people of Nebraska. We also have lived in Wyoming and Colorado, so have seen much of the west central states. We have driven through them many many times and appreciate the agriculture that we see. My husband grew up on a dairy farm in Minnesota, so agriculture has been a way of life in our family. My husband and I are retirees out of Michigan State University in East Lansing. We carefully follow all the information that we find about what is happened in the plains states and know that you are experiencing difficult times. Thank you for your article.

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  25. I’m a farmer’s daughter from NE Nebraska and very proud of it! I milked cows, butchered chickens, worked in the garden, field, etc. I know first hand how challenging farm life can be, living loan to loan from the bank. I now live outside of Omaha and experienced flooding at this end, but it breaks my heart to see the devastation to my home town farming community, as well as across our state and all our neighboring states who were also affected. We may not have gotten the National news coverage, but what we did get, are neighbors helping neighbors in all areas affected, because that’s what we do here in the Midwest! We don’t sit on our fannies, crying that FEMA hasn’t been here yet to give handouts, because our work ethic would not consider that as an option. So, kudos to all the Midwesterners affected by the extreme cold, record snow falls, rain, or all of the above. We have held our heads up high and shown the rest of this country what it means to be a “real” neighbor and how we help each other out in a disaster. God’s Blessings and comfort to each and everyone affected by this disaster. We will overcome this challenge!

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  26. I was reared in a Farmer/rancher family of 5 daughters in Oklahoma. We all were brought up like “boys”… thinking we could do anything the guys could. We had our share of hardships and losses, but nothing quite like the Flash flood in Houston, TX in April 2016, only to be followed by another flood 5 weeks later on my small horse ranch. We were still recovering a year later when Hurricane Harvey hit with 10 more feet in water height than the first two floods in 2016. Myself and one employee were stranded on a fence trying to rescue horses in 2016, and I can remember the worst moments of my life watching horses being swept away or fighting being tangled in fencing, totally helpless holding on to an arena fence line. Luckily she and I made it out alive (13 drown in Houston during that flood), and we only ended up losing 4 horses out of a herd of 70. I was so sure we were going to lose half the herd. So many friends and complete strangers jumped in the water and risked their own lives to help us save the many horses we did during that horrendous flash flood. If I had not endured the trials of a typical farm and ranch life as a youngster, I’m sure I would have lost my mind. You just grow up strong I guess.

    A few days ago, I sat the children in my life down and made them look at the pictures of the devastation and weather Bomb coverage that I was picking up on my Ipad. I read the whole description to them. They did not have a clue what was going on, or how important that part of the country is to supplying them with their daily bread. My heart and understanding goes out to all of you fine folks up there. This too will pass, but at the moment, it truly seems like more than good people should bear. You will lean on and help each other I’m sure as the people of Houston did during our catastrophe. My deepest prayers are with you. Keep up the coverage… I will share to my best ability. Darolyn Butler

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  27. As an old city girl gone country almost 60 years ago I praise this article and your words. People do not understand, they don’t get it unless they have “been there, done that.” Sad but true. I well remember holding a freezing calf in my lap close to a fire/heater trying to get it cleaned and warmed hoping that it would be able to get back to the warming barn, praying and crying then thanking God that this one lived and would continue on. Animals in the agriculture world are not just animals that provide meat for our tables, they are a part of our lives. We sacrifice almost everything for this way of life, not because we feel the call so to speak but because it is who we are. I woiuldn’t trade my new life for all the money in the world. No better way of life. Thank you for your well written thoughts.

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  28. I grew up in the suburbs but married a country boy. At 72 years old, my husband and I have a small farm in the Shenandoah Valley where we raise about a dozen Black Angus a year, a few chickens, and train a few horses. We also make our own hay and have a garden. We can relate, in a small way, how difficult it is to depend on weather for the well being of our animals. We catch weather and market reports daily on RFD and other Ag reports. Our hearts are broken when we see the loss and hardships that the ranchers and farmers are going through. It is beyond our comprehension and we pray for them daily. I post as much info about what is happening on social media knowing that I have many contacts that are unaware of what is going on. It is our hope and prayer that we can spread the word so that people will at least understand what is going on and learn to empathize, appreciate and uphold in prayer those whose struggles are beyond our imagination. Thanks to all of you who labor and devote your lives to the betterment of our country. Our hopes and prayers are with you.

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