SALEM, S.D. (KELO)– Farmers and ranchers across eastern South Dakota are cleaning up following the May 12th storm.
The storm left many farmers and ranchers with major damage, from lost bins, crushed sheds and barns, broken or destroyed equipment and dead livestock.
Producer Drew Peterson is just glad to be alive.
“All the sudden we were there and we are running inside the shed before we don’t know if we can get back in. When the door blew through the shed, we went in the bathroom, thankfully we have a built in warm area in the shed and we all huddled in the corner of the bathroom on the storm side as we were hearing the shed fall down around us,” said Peterson.
They stayed in that small bathroom for several minutes not knowing how long the storm would last or what they would find when it was over.
“I know when we all walked out of that, we were thankful to be alive and our biggest fear was not everyone would live through this. And I haven’t heard anybody in the area that has passed away,” said Peterson.
Peterson’s nice shop and shed with a grain handling facility is now just a pile of rubble, with much of the building blown into the neighboring field and shelter belt.
“We don’t know what the final damage is going to be yet, we don’t know where we are at,” he said.
There’s lots of destruction to many farms in the area. Right now, producers main concern is getting insurance money and when that money will come.
“These are new bins,” said Dawn Scheier, who farms near Salem. “A couple of them are just two years old. And basically when we built them, we insured them for what they cost and they were 80 thousand dollars. Well, because of all the supply chain issues and the price of everything going up, they are over 100 thousand to replace. So we are kind of really scared of the difference between.”
“We are all going to be underinsured,” said Peterson. “For me to replace this, I’m afraid my insurance will not replace this and I personally have debt on this already, so I don’t know if I’m going to be able to afford to rebuild this.”
They are hoping for some natural disaster assistance.
“We don’t know if our crops that are in the ground are going to come up because they got pummeled so hard their emergence might be a problem,” said Peterson.
Not only are they worried they won’t get compensation for their losses, but also finding the resources to rebuild.
“We can’t get bins. There’s no bins to be had,” said Scheier.
“We might not have any facilities to store grain in this fall, that is a very huge concern,” said Peterson.
Right now, many grain bins have commodities in them and are opened to the weather conditions.
“We have to get it out because its opened to the weather. We have no augers, you know, any equipment to get it out so we have to figure out where to take it and how to get it out,” said Scheier.
While it’s technically planting season right now, that’s not a priority for many of these producers.
“That’s the last thing on my mind right now. If we can get some things in order, feel like we can maintain where we are at, maybe we will be able to go focus on getting our crop in because we need to raise the the revenue,” said Peterson.
Some fear they will have to replant the crops already in the ground.
“Between trying to manage picking up from this mess, plus still doing all the other major projects, we are just going to try figure out how we are going to get it all done,” said Peterson.
Worried about the year ahead, but thankful they are safe.
“That’s the blessing out of this that we are all alive,” said Peterson. “I don’t know if everybody would want to come back from something like this if they didn’t truly believe it was what they were meant to do and what they wanted and believed to do, but we’ll do it.”
In addition to talking with their insurance agents, farmers and ranchers are encouraged to reach out to the Farm Service Agency and USDA disaster programs.