Western Kentucky Farmers Face Tornado Aftermath

by | Mar 23, 2022 | Indiana Agriculture News, News Feed

Aerial view of the UK Research and Education Center after it took a direct hit from a weekend tornado. Photo by Matt Barton, UK agricultural communications.

It’s been over three months now since a devastating tornado ripped through Western Kentucky. For farmers in the area, cleanup efforts continue as planting season approaches.

“One of the farmers in our area said they had $600,000 worth of damage, and he felt like the storm missed him,” explains Chad Lee, University of Kentucky Extension Professor for Grain Crops, giving some perspective as to what farmers in the area are dealing with.

The tornado also tore through the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton, KY, around 1,700 acres of research ground.

“That tornado came across the farm and it was essentially a half mile wide on the farm. It took out 35 buildings or so all the way through, some houses, our main building that had our offices, labs, meeting room space… seven people that work at the station lost their homes.”

Lee says they are insured at cost. It will just take a while to go through that process.

Lee adds that support from friends and neighbors has been overwhelming. More help is needed though to clean up.

“We have debris over the entire acreage of the farm that has to be picked up by hand because you’re talking about things the size of a quarter, maybe a silver dollar, with a nail in it that you’ve got to get out of the field. That’s got to come out of the pasture fields for the cattle. It’s got to come out of all the row crop fields.”

And Lee says it’s even worse for other farmers in the area.

“Princeton itself lost about 150 houses and most of that was before it came to us, so [our neighbor’s] fields got it worse than we got it because of the debris pile. And that goes for 150 miles or so through Kentucky. A tremendous amount of cattle fencing that’s lost. We have replaced 9 miles of fencing so far on our farm, and that’s all exterior fencing.”

If you’re willing and able, there are still opportunities to make donations to benefit farmers in Western Kentucky. Visit the University of Kentucky tornado resources website to find out how.

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