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Kentucky Farmers Gather Donations for Flood Victims

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Posted at 11:42 PM, Apr 23, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-23 23:42:38-04

FRANKFORT, KY (LEX 18) – This week’s rain will be just an inconvenience for us, but since March, major flooding in five Midwestern states is continuing to threaten farmers’ hopes for 2019.

Those here in Kentucky know exactly what that’s like. So this week, they’re reaching out to their brothers and sisters in Nebraska with truckloads of donations.

Flatbed after flatbed and hay bail after hay bail, farmers like Monty Rosson kept busy Tuesday evening for the second time this week.

Since Monday, they’ve transformed an empty lot in Frankfort into a farming donation hub.

“I’ve been hauling it for the last two days,” said Rosson. “I think I’ve loaded six loads, I believe.”

The seemingly endless rows of hay are all the idea of Freida Smith, who saw the devastating flooding in Nebraska earlier this year and wanted to do something with the hay left on her late husband’s Owen County farm.

“I had something they needed and I wanted to help them out, so I made a phone call to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture,” said Smith.

“So, we sent it out to all the county offices, extension offices, the FFA and 4H members, and next thing I know we’ve got a statewide drive,” said Kendal Bowman, with the Owen County Cooperative Extension.

Soon, Bowman had a warehouse full of bottled water, canned food, and other essentials for farmers in need.

“We’ve got a lot of cleaning supplies donated, which is what they say they really need out there right now,” Bowman said.

He also has more than 240 bails of hay and counting to help desperate farmers feed their cattle.

“We’ve got to help each other out,” said Monty Rosson. “Everybody needs help every once in a while.”

The hope is to get all the supplies and hundreds of bails of hay on the road to Nebraska by Friday. Volunteer truckers from other states will come into Kentucky and drive the donations.

“When they get that hay I hope it gives them a sense of relief,” said Freida Smith. “That they’re not going to be out there wondering when I’m going to be able to feed my cattle today.”

When times get tough, farmers help farmers no matter how many miles in between. That’s the motto Smith and the other volunteers say they live by.

“Whether you’re in Nebraska or Kansas, different disasters, farmers are a big family,” said Bowman. “We love helping each other out. We’re all in it together at the end.”

If you want to help the effort, you can donate gas cards for the trip. You can send them to the Owen or Franklin County extension offices.

You can also directly contact Nick Stortz at 507-273-3993.