Farmer Jared Blackwelder from Springfield and his wife Misty were feeding their beloved cows one morning, completely unaware that it would be their last time doing this with them. They allowed the cows to feed on the grassy field until it was time for the evening milking. Yet, when they came back after only a short while, they were shocked to discover that the pasture was now devoid of any cows. Unfortunately, what they found was all 32 cows were lifeless, clustered together in a significant pile near the edge of the tree line..
The couple were involved in a tragedy, since a lightning had struck the herd, causing all the cows to lose their lives miserably. This happened on a rainy spring day, and the cows went under the trees in the field to stay dry, unaware of what their fate will bring later.
The fact that the lightning was the cause of the tragic incident, was confirmed by a local veterinarian. During the storm, the cows gathered together under the trees to stay dry, and this was especially heartbreaking for Jared because he had raised these dairy cows himself and felt a special bond with them because of the daily milking routine.
The loss was not only spiritual, but also financial, since each dairy cow was valued between $2,000 and $2,500, which will lead to a total loss of $60,000. Even though the family had insurance, they were uncertain if it would provide coverage for such a substantial loss.
The FSA has a Livestock Indemnity Program designed to aid farmers in recovering from natural disasters such as lightning strikes, floods, or blizzards that cause significant herd losses, and they reached out to the Missouri Farm Bureau to offer assistance.
The incident served as a stark reminder of the powerlessness farmers face against natural disasters like lightning strikes, emphasizing the impact such events can have on their livelihood, and despite the support from the farming community, some critics blamed Jared for not providing adequate shelter for the cows. However, others, including MFB President Stan Cody, defended him, noting that many farmers in Missouri do not have separate buildings for their dairy or beef cows.
The story gives attention to the vulnerability of farmers to the unpredictable forces of nature and the deep emotional connections they form with their animals throughout time. It also sheds light on the supportive farming community and the available resources to help farmers during difficult times. The tragic loss of the dairy cows has left a lasting impact on Jared and his family in many aspects, serving as a reminder of the challenges and resilience of the farming life.