BREMER COUNTY, Iowa (KWWL) – Following extreme weather conditions earlier this week, farmers in Bremer County are working to clean up damage to their equipment and crops.
Tripoli and surrounding communities were hit hard by high winds and left trees and power lines covering the roads. Vehicles had to go around felled trees and even drive through home gardens to get to their destination.
“It’s… it’s devastating,” said farmer Lowell Biermann.
Within days of the storm, most of the tree debris in cities like Tripoli was almost all cleared away.
“Most people have cleaned up their mess completely or are off to a good start,” said Bremer County Emergency Management Coordinator Kip Ladage.
However, it’s a different story to drive in and out of town in rural county areas. Local farmers have been the hardest hit.
“It’s hundreds of thousands, if not more, of acres that have been affected,” Ladage said.
Flattened or broken corn stalks in the fields almost everywhere you look. In some areas, crop damage extends for miles.
“Our livelihood is on the line every year when we plant this crop and that’s why it’s so important for us to get it, take it home and put it in the trash,” Biermann said.
Crop damage does more work. Maize will need to be harvested earlier and dried more. Combine harvester attachments should also be purchased in order to effectively harvest flattened stems.
Farmers in Cedar Rapids gave farmers in Fayette and Bremer counties some of the equipment they used in harvesting last year’s flattened derecho corn. All the work will take more time and money.
“It’s a challenge. I mean, it’s an adventure,” Biermann said.
Crops weren’t the only things damaged on farms.
The Matthias family saw their six grain elevators destroyed. One of them was lifted off the ground and landed a few meters from the house where they were sheltering.
“We are really lucky. Honestly. I have a house,” said Mischa Matthias, a resident. “This is the area my husband grew up on, so these are the garbage cans his dad built… I hadn’t really thought about it.”
The family demolishes each one completely, in order to rebuild and recover.
“All of this is repairable and replaceable. All the cattle were fine and all the humans were fine, so that was really what mattered,” said Matthias.
Fortunately, there were no injuries or deaths from Tuesday’s storm.
After the storms, Governor Reynolds issued a disaster proclamation for the counties of Bremer and Fayette. It opens up state resources for those in need, such as financial aid and mental health resources, for those who are entitled to it.
RELATED: Disaster Proclamation Issued for Bremer and Fayette Counties