April 18 2024 09:21 AM

The weather has caused damage to our farm already this spring, and there is not much we can do about it.

Having a farming profession typically insinuates that we are outside most of the time. Whether we are actively outside walking from barn to barn or pasture to pasture, moving cattle, or working in crops, the outdoors is our office. And if you’ve ever been outside, you know the weather changes on a dime. One minute it’s nice and sunny; the next it’s cold and raining. Mother Nature is a force to be reckoned with. She changes moods faster than most, and you never know what’s next. In my case, the winds this year have been unforgiving and destructive. We’ve completed more fence and roof work already than in most years, and it’s just the beginning.

Typically, a nice breeze is much appreciated on a warm spring or summer day. Where I live, a lot of the time, we have a few months of summer, a couple weeks of fall, a few months of winter. and a couple weeks of spring. During the spring and summer time, a nice breeze is welcomed with open arms and smiles. The humidity and overall stagnant heat are only remedied by the nice breeze. However, this year, the wind is so frighteningly destructive. The roofs around the farm are missing skylights and metal, fences are constantly being mended, and our cattle trailer is now a convertible.

There were a few instances earlier this year where there was nothing we could do but watch. The wind was sporadic and coming from the opposite direction than normal, and we would watch as roofs would fold like tacos. Skylights would bust like an explosion had occurred where the wind whipped into the barn like a horizontal vortex. The absolute helplessness was almost overwhelming.

The Friday before Easter is when our cattle trailer became a convertible. The wind had been howling and screaming all night long, and it came to a head that morning. It folded the roof of our cattle trailer up like an accordion and broke every bar that not only held the roof on but kept the trailer from coming apart. We were, once again, helpless as our equipment was destroyed.

Mother Nature can either be a friend or foe. She is beautiful and also destructive. When a storm is coming, take it seriously. Be careful and stay safe out there, folks.

Courtney Henderson

The author is a sixth-generation farmer and fifth-generation dairy producer in southwest Virginia, where she and her family own and operate a 145-head Holstein dairy. Courtney is involved in agriculture organizations throughout her community and is a graduate of Virginia Tech.