Farmers left reeling after strong winds destroy barns, sheds, wind tunnels

wind damage on farms
Posted at 10:01 PM, Mar 08, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-09 00:21:09-05

SCOTTSBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Just as spring production is getting ready to start, many farmers are now dealing with costly repairs after strong winds damaged sheds, barns, and even wind tunnels made out of metal.

As winds roared, board secretary of the nonprofit TN Local Food Summit, Caroline Hutchins, said fear of what would be torn apart was top of mind for Tennessee farmers.

"We were all group texting each other, sending each other photos of the storm damage as it was coming in, and I realized that it was just about every farmer that I knew was experiencing some serious damage to their infrastructure," she said.

Damage that, upon surveying, could range from hundreds to thousands of dollars in costs.

For small farms trying to make ends meet, the cost of repairs can be crippling.

"A lot of these farms operate on really small margins. There is not a lot of room for error, financially speaking. So, when something like this happens — especially at a critical time of year when cash flow is really tight — it can kind of make or break a farm," Hutchins said.

This is why Hutchins said they had to act quickly and start a relief fund for those impacted.

"Every penny of this is going to be redistributed to farmers, so our organization isn't going to keep a dime of it," she said.

Hutchins said in the last few years weather has become more extreme, and any money that isn't used will be set aside for future emergencies.

"These are really the farms that make up the fabric of our Middle TN farm community. And they really are essential. And this infrastructure is critical to them succeeding this year," she said.

If you would like to help, by donating to the Farm Infrastructure, you can visit the donation website HERE.

Farms that suffered damage to infrastructure due to the extreme winds last week can apply to receive help HERE.

According to Hutchins, all donations will be distributed to farmers who apply.

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