Women's ag group stays strong amid unexpected weather

Farm Forum

COLCHESTER, Vt. — Agriculture can be very challenging, even on its best day. American Agri-Women want those who have been confronted with the recent weather-related impacts to know AAW members are standing behind them.

Farmers and ranchers in many states are dealing with the destruction of vegetable crops, winter kill of fall-seeded crops, transportation delays by road, rail, and barges, caring for livestock not suited for harsh weather, and the availability of gas, diesel, propane and natural gas, according to a news release from the group.

Arlene Kovash, a member of AAW Oregon Women for Ag, is thankful the water for the cattle was gravity-fed, and the temperatures weren’t that low, so no water hauling had to be done. Yet other animals have not been so lucky.

“Wildlife and exotic animals were a lot more heavily affected than anticipated,” said Kristin Warner, Texas Agri-Women member. “Last I saw, over 4,000+ sea turtles were rescued through the Padre Island National Seashore Division and game wardens ... many ranchers lost axis, blackbuck, and other exotics they raise for game and wildlife management. They are continuing fish counts (both freshwater and saltwater) throughout the state as our seashores and many fisheries were affected severely.”

Those not affected by the weather directly have been facing rolling power outages in well below freezing temperatures. “In Oregon, we at least are prepared for the loss of power. The generator ran the refrigerator, freezer, TV, fireplace, fan, and microwave; therefore, we have survived pretty well for the five days we didn’t have power,” Kovash said. “The only drawback was not being able to shower.”

Kim Bremmer, AAW secretary and Wisconsin Women for Ag member, shared that Generac, Briggs & Stratton, and Kohler in her home state are currently working overtime to supply generators to Texas.

AAW has state and commodity affiliates all over the U.S. Members have been reaching out with words of comfort, tips for keeping homes, farms, and livestock functioning, and responding to other inquiries. Many are finding it overwhelming when you don’t know what you need, or if the stores even have it. They, too, are not prepared for this kind of unexpected weather change. Many members from the northern states have been sharing information via social media to be proactive to situations they know might happen in homes and on farms.

Farms and businesses depend on essential services to keep running, just like the general public is dependent on food production and availability. Warner noted that, “On the consumer side, many stores and small grocers lost product due to power outages and not being able to maintain refrigeration. Now that things have re-opened, they can’t keep shelves stocked because the public continues to panic-buy to refill their homes. Basics like water, eggs, bread, and dairy products are still very hard to find.”

AAW appreciates their members stepping up during this time, and also recognizes all the hard work people are doing to get life back on track. Gratitude extends beyond that as well to industry professionals working to restore power, water, and deliver goods among countless other tasks being done behind the scenes.

Group details

American Agri-Women promotes the welfare of national security through safe and reliable food, fiber, and energy supply. Since 1974, AAW members have worked together to educate consumers, advocate for agriculture, and offer networking and professional development opportunities. For more information about AAW, go to www.americanagriwomen.org.

Branches broke off when the ice got too heavy in Oregon, causing thousands of dollars of damage.