PLAINWELL, Mich. (WOOD) — Next week while most people are preparing for Easter with their families, a large volunteer convoy of Michigan farmers will be sending supplies to flooded farms in Nebraska.
Their first stop will be Freemont in eastern Nebraska.
“We have a guy over there that lost over 700 hogs He’s got a 120-plus cow-calve operation, he’s moved his cattle three times, he’s told me,” said Jeff Gouker, who helped organize the West Michigan relief effort.
Friday in Plainwell, Gouker supervised as a Hi-Lo driver carefully placed a heavy load of fencing atop of a trailer already loaded with fence posts.
“I got 600, 4-inch cedars on here,” Gouker said.
Fencing is among the most-needed supplies for farms underwater because of the swollen Missouri River, and not just a few miles of it.
“No. I’m talking thousands of miles of fencing they’re going to be putting up out there,” Gouker said.
“Some guys were telling us they had 6-foot waves … a wall of water… just coming at them with 2-foot chunks of ice in it. It just leveled everything on its path,” he added.
As word spread of the Nebraska farmers’ plight, West Michigan farmers organized help. Along with supplies, they’ve also raised closed to $20,000 for the effort.
They did the same thing after wildfires hit the Great Plains in 2017. Helping their own is just what farmers do.
“We’ve got probably 17 different ranchers that we’re going out to try to help right now, and picking up more as we go,” Gouker said.
Hopkins Elementary School students also put together Easter baskets for children of the Nebraska farmers.
Others involved in next week’s convoy have volunteered their trucks, trailers, fuel and time, spending days away from their loved ones during the holiday weekend to help those in need.
“That tells me there’s a lot of great people in the state of Michigan,” Gouker.
Those interested in helping the effort can find out more on the group’s Facebook page.