Jared Blackwelder, a farmer from Springfield, Missouri, was left in disbelief when he discovered a heartbreaking scene in his pasture. All 32 of his cows were found dead, piled on top of each other on the mulch.
According to the vet who examined the cows, it was determined that they had been struck by lightning. It is believed that the animals sought shelter from the heavy rain and thunder, congregating under a tree which unfortunately became a deadly trap.
Stan Coday, President of the Wright County Missouri Farm Bureau, expressed his sympathy for Blackwelder, stating that while incidents like these do occur, the sheer number of cows affected made this one particularly devastating.
“You’re at the mercy of Mother Nature,” Coday explained. He himself had experienced a similar loss in the past. Though cows may not be considered pets, for farmers like Blackwelder who have raised and tended to them daily, the emotional impact is significant. “Dairy cattle are a little different because you mess with them twice a day. It knocks you hard,” Blackwelder shared with the Springfield News-Leader.
In addition to the emotional toll, the financial impact is substantial. Blackwelder had insurance coverage, but it remains uncertain if it will be enough to cover the losses. The total loss is estimated at over $60,000. Coday mentioned that most farmers in the area do not carry insurance, emphasizing that losing a cow means losing everything.
Unfortunately, the dead cows cannot even be used for their meat due to the time that had passed since their discovery. Coday explained that the animals have been damaged and the necessary processing for human consumption had not been carried out.
This tragic incident sheds light on the challenges faced by farmers in Missouri. Unlike other regions with harsher climates, many farmers in the state don’t have dedicated cow barns. The milder weather is typically favorable, but incidents like this one highlight the unforeseen circumstances that can occur.
Let us remember Jared Blackwelder and his devastating loss, and share this story with our family and friends. It serves as a reminder of the unpredictable nature of farming and the resilience required to overcome such heartbreaking challenges.