Washington’s Yakima Valley is known for its vineyards, hops, apples and a generally temperate and dry climate. Dairy production also has taken off across the region, so when a winter storm carrying heavy snow and winds up to 80 mph struck the area on a key dairy-producing region, on February 9, with cold temperatures and wind from a non-typical direction, around 14 farms lost over 1,800 cows, according to news reports. State officials now have mobilized to help with disposal of the dead cattle.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reports that the state has agreed to provide $100,000 to haul about 30 % of the animals to landfills. Dairy farmers in the area are composting or otherwise disposing of animals and shipping injured cattle to slaughter.
The Farm Services Agency (FSA) estimates losses to area dairies at around $4 million. The FSA has emergency assistance programs to provide financial help when disasters strike, and the agency asks farmers to report crop and livestock losses and damage to agricultural land or structures to their FSA county office and crop insurance agent, if applicable.
For more on disaster preparation and assistance, see these articles on BovineVetOnline: