- Associated Press - Monday, July 7, 2014

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - Authorities estimate that about 1,000 large animals were killed by the June 16 storms that roared through northeast Nebraska, spawning an EF4 tornado that destroyed or heavily damaged more than half of Pilger and killed two people.

Marty Marks of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service office in Wayne County said the animal toll could be 1,000 in a six-county region, plus hundreds of chickens and other poultry.

It’s difficult to determine the exact number of livestock deaths, because producers aren’t required to report livestock losses to the government, and businesses such as cattle feeding operations generally don’t insure individual animals, the Lincoln Journal Star said (https://bit.ly/1mAM6Sx ).

Two of Herman Dinklage Inc.’s three cattle feedlots were hit, with the Wayne County feedlot struck hardest. Owner Jeff Dinklage said more than 650 head were killed or had to be euthanized.

The storms destroyed the feedlot fencing, letting loose thousands of animals. Employees and volunteers rounded up more than 7,000 head after the storms.

“Some are still missing, so we’re not exactly sure yet, but the loss of cattle life was substantial,” Dinklage said.

He found safety in the basement of his home west of Wisner and emerged from there to find devastation.

“It looked like a bomb went off,” Dinklage said. “We have to go through all the buildings by hand and find out what can be reused, what can be recycled, what can be auctioned and what should be hauled off for scrap metal.”

Dinklage expects to rebuild over the next 16 months, consolidating the three feedlots into one facility.


Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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