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Killdeer storm causes significant damage to cropland

KILLDEER--Weekend storms in Killdeer caused significant damage to nearby farms, including causing one farmer losing about 1,000 acres of hay and cropland.

KILLDEER-Weekend storms in Killdeer caused significant damage to nearby farms, including causing one farmer losing about 1,000 acres of hay and cropland.

Mike Stroh, a Killdeer rancher and farmer who lives a couple miles south of town, said Sunday evening's storm-which slammed Killdeer with winds as high as 70 mph and hail more than 3 inches in diameter-caused damage to his home and crops. Stroh said he has about 5,000 acres of land and about 1,000 of that is hay and cropland dedicated to oats and millets.

"All of our hay and cropland, what was left standing, is near a total loss," Stroh said.

He said that while he is hopeful the millet will be able to recover, he believes the oats may be a complete lost.

Alvin Sadowsky, a farmer who also lives south of Killdeer, said the storm caused some damage to his crops. He said he has about 300 acres of wheat and corn that were impacted by the storm, but doesn't believe the crops are a total loss and that he fared much better than a lot of people.

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"It really chewed them up, but we don't know really how bad it is yet," Sadowsky said. "Everything on the east side got chewed up, but the west half doesn't look too bad."

Stroh and Sadowsky said neither of them have crop insurance. Both expressed that there are pros and cons to investing into crop insurance. They said while it can be nice to collect its benefits when something does happen, it can be frustrating to invest something and then not be able to get anything out of it.

"It's kind of a gamble, just like farming is," Sadowsky said. "You plant everything in the spring and just hope for the best."

Stroh and Sadowsky both said they haven't heard of anyone losing cattle in the storm, which could have injured the animals with the force in which the hail came down. But, that doesn't mean it won't have an impact on the industry in the area.

Since the storm caused so much damage to Stroh's land, he believes they will likely be short on hay this winter. He said farmers never really completely recover from a storm like Sunday's and said it will completely change how he moves forward with his cattle business in the winter.

He said, normally, he feeds all of his calves with the hay that he produces, but now he may be forced to sell much of his herd, except his replacement cattle. Stroh said they'll likely research other options as well.

"There's lots up in the air at this point," Stroh said. "We haven't really had time to digest it all yet

and figure out which way we're going to go yet."

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Stroh said Sunday's storm showed everyone that you never truly know what to expect with the weather and that no matter what you do, things can truly be out of your hands in the end.

"Mother Nature definitely let us know that she's in control," Stroh said. "You can't fight what Mother Nature deals you and if you can't accept that then you can't be in the business of agriculture."

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