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Double whammy for area farmers

Building, crop damage hit rural areas

July 13, 2011
By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Ron Koster expects to be filling out plenty of insurance forms in the near future.

The farmer who lives south of Gladbrook saw several of his farm structures destroyed during Monday's storm including two barns, two silos and two garages. It was destruction unlike he's ever seen.

"We've had damage before but nothing that took everything," Koster said.

Article Photos

Ron Koster, center, looks over the rubble of one of his flattened farm buildings Tuesday south of Gladbrook. Several buildings on the farm were destroyed as a result of Monday’s storm. At left is his son, Jeff Koster.

Friends and neighbors helped rescue six livestock that were trapped inside one of the collapsed buildings.

"We got them out uninjured," he said.

He lives next to his sons, Gary Koster and Jeff Koster, and was thankful his family was free of injury after surviving the horrible tragedy.

"We are thanking God no one was injured," Ron Koster said.

Jeff Koster said he has helped others who've experienced storm damage in the past, but this time it was much different.

"I can't imagine it would ever happen to us," he said.

Rick Landt, who lives and farms north of Garwin, was cleaning up the rubble left behind after one of his farm buildings near his house was destroyed. He said the wind whipped pieces of the structure around the area including into his nearby home.

"Insulation from the building went into my home and out the window," Landt said.

Landt saw his corn crop damaged at an inopportune time.

"It's bad timing because it's going to need to pollinate and it's laying down," he said.

Some of the Koster's damaged corn crop straightened up a little overnight Monday which was an encouraging sign.

"We don't know what it's going to be," Ron Koster said.

Mark Licht, field agronomist with the Iowa State University Extension office, said he was amazed at how widespread the crop damage was from the storm.

"It usually is in pockets and not as large of an area as it was this time," Licht said.

He said it's possible the corn can recover depending on where it was at in the tasseling stage. Those stalks still days away

from tasseling might be better off and sometimes it takes a few days to see if the crop will stay down.

"I talk to growers and tell them don't reach to the emotional side," Licht said. "Wait three, four, five or seven days and you are going to have a much better picture of where you are at."

Licht said most farmers have crop insurance, but it most likely will not make up for the loss of a regular year's yield.



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