YAKIMA, Wash. (KIMA) -- Farmers have been devastated across the Yakima Valley in Washington state, as strong winds of up to 80 miles per hour, and cold conditions have killed about 1,600 cows according to the Yakima Valley Dairy Farmers Association.
Yakima Valley Dairy Farmers are continuing to prepare as more snow is expected to hit the Valley, they're adding extra bedding to insulate areas for cows to lay in, adding extra feed, and thawing water troughs with hot water.
“Without our employees, there’s no way we, or our cows could survive this storm,” Alyssa Haak , a dairy farmer in Prosser said. “To shield our cows from the wind we stacked straw bales to create a windbreak for our cows. I give a lot of credit to our milk truck drivers, too. Without their bravery, we wouldn’t be able to get our milk off the farm.”
Another farmer in Grandview says he’s been working around the clock to make sure his cows are being protected from the elements.
“These have been the worst few days of my life,” he said. “We’re just devastated. I don’t think we’ve ever been hit with weather like this.”
With severe winter weather continuing to occur in in eastern Washington throughout the next week, dairy farmers are assessing their current losses and preparing for the next round of snow and wind.
Farmers say that they are working together to help each other through these tough times.
Markus Rollinger, a Sunnyside dairy farmer stated, "Saturday was brutal. We put in a 36-hour day, but we’ve been fortunate. I’ve spent a lot of time helping my fellow dairy farmers and supporting what they’re going through,” Markus says. “My brother and I are trying to keep roads plowed for our employees and the milk trucks.”
Governor Inslee has declared a state of emergency for the state of Washington, which the farmers are hoping will lead to further assistance.
The dairy farmers say that they continue to cope with these conditions and over the next few days will be touch and go as they assess the damage and losses to their farm.