Salem farmers and producers recovering after storms

Many farmers and producers in McCook County are still reeling with storm damage from earlier this month.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 5:31 PM CDT
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SALEM, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Many farmers and producers in McCook County are still reeling with storm damage from earlier this month. While there’s still plenty of physical damage left to clean up, many are worried the financial damage could set them back years.

Drew Peterson still has mounds of debris that was picked up out of his family’s fields. Some of it is debris that blew in from other farms, but most of it came from their now destroyed machine shed. But he said they were lucky not to lose everything.

“It’s not just our farms. There are farms all across eastern South Dakota that have gotten hit as bad or worse than we have. And so it’s just a widespread disaster that we’re recovering from.” said Peterson.

Peterson said many farmers and producers are still waiting to see the tally of everything they lost and what they can get for insurance. But he said it will be tough to rebuild in full, as prices for materials are only increasing.

“Part of it is, we’re waiting for insurance to get here, and I know some guys and some families are still waiting for insurance. Others like us, we know. Like the shed is totaled, so I can start cleaning it up. It’s different things, maybe for our total. You have got to figure out where your numbers are at before you’re confident to totally get rid of it.” said Peterson.

South of Salem, Adam Eichacker is picking up the pieces from what was his garage, shop and and old barn. He lost almost every building on his acreage, except his house.

“A frightening sight when that front was rolling in from the southwest. You know, our farm yard is a little barren right now. But I was telling my dad the other day, at least we can put the buildings wherever we want this time.” said Eichacker.

He said although they will have to replant in some areas, they’re lucky they still have time to do so and help soften the financial blow.

“They always say, timing is everything. For us as ag producers, we’re actually somewhat fortunate this happened when our crops weren’t up out of the ground. We didn’t sustain a whole much of significant damage to crops or anything.” said Eichacker.

Peterson said while farmers and producers wait for insurance to see what they need to do next, all they can do is wait and look for help where they can get it.

“Because so many of our farms were hit in the area, it was frustrating for all of us. Because I would’ve liked to go be able to help my neighbors, and they would’ve liked to come help us. But we all had our own situations to deal with.” said Peterson.

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