When the derecho passed through Iowa on August 10, 2020, Iowa dairy farmer Brian Schanbacher remembers that pre-storm reports told of wind gusts to the west of his farm of 100 miles an hour.
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A beam and peg barn built 125 years ago is in pieces after being demaged by the derecho that occurred on July 29, 2021, in the Town of Concord. Angela Major/WPR
Brian and Kristen were home when the hurricane-force winds struck their Iowa farm last summer. Fortunately their two children were relatives, well out of the storm’s path. Courtesy Of The Schanbacher Family

He was prepared for wind. But what he and his wife Kristen weren’t prepared for was the duration of the storm.

“It was a lot of wind and it lasted a long time – 30 to 40 minutes,” he told the Wisconsin State Farmer. Fortunately their young son and daughter were gone with family out of the storm’s path. “It hit here at 12:19.” He remembers it exactly.

“We are okay and our family is okay and our house survived so that’s what is really important. We still have a roof over our heads,” he told said soon after the storm hit last year. Their farm, near Newhall, which is west of Cedar Rapids by about 20 miles, is where his mother grew up. It has been in her family for 155 years. Brian’s Mom and Dad started milking cows there in 1976 and Brian put in robotic milking units almost ten years ago.

Since that storm tore through their farm, it has been a lesson in taking one day at a time. “It’s all in the process,” he told us with a sigh on the one-year anniversary of the storm. Schanbacher knew at the time that it would take longer than he wanted for things to “get back to normal.”

We called Brian to find out how things are going on his farm these days, following the path of destruction caused by the derecho and its hurricane force winds.

Thirteen congressional members from New England are urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to intervene on behalf of farmers left in the lurch by Danone SA, the French food giant that owns the Horizon Organic brand.

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