Barron County farmer loses 140 acres of crops to storm damage

By: Amelia Cerling Email
By: Amelia Cerling Email

Wednesday’s quick moving storm was followed by clear blue skies. But not before one inch sized hail and heavy winds pounded parts of Barron County.

We went to a farm just south west of Rice Lake Wednesday evening to survey the damage and talk to a farmer who says he lost more than 100 acres of crops in the most destructive storm he’s seen in all his years of farming.

As Sue and Paul Millerman survey their crop damage, it is with a heavy heart. They were planning on harvesting their snap beans in just 6 days.

“I'm thinking what a drag, ya know this is our years work and bang its gone,” Paul Millerman says.

Overall Millerman says he lost about 140 acres of crops, out of a total of just under 1000 acres. And while he and Sue are no doubt disappointed, he says it could have been much worse.

“Ya just gotta thank the good Lord that everything's fine and you can do it all over again,” he says.

The Millerman’s have a cooler holding some of the hail collected around their farm, hail that's responsible for so much damage across the county.

“We've had several reports of trees down, large hail, some power lines down, trees on some cars in the city of Rice Lake,” Barron County Sheriff Chris Fitzgerald says.

In fact, Fitzgerald said there was so much hail, it looked like it was snow.

He says he's surveyed an extensive amount of damage around Rice Lake, but the people are banding together.

“I think it's neighbors helping neighbors a lot of people helping each other out, as we were pulling up there were some people hooking up their trucks to trees and pulling them out of the way either for themselves or their friends or neighbors,” Fitzgerald says.

Fitzgerald also says while there's a lot of damage, he's happy to report no one was injured.

The Millerman’s say they have crop insurance, but it's not 100 percent. About 45 of their destroyed acres that had snap beans, was valued at about $900 per acre.

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  • by Heidi Location: chippewa on Jul 22, 2010 at 11:40 AM
    Wow Mike - sound like you have some issues that dont have a thing to do with farming... She has a right to her prayer and you have a right to be rude - personally I would rather hear her prayer..... Thanks Deb!! :)
  • by Mike Location: WI on Jul 21, 2010 at 11:10 PM
    Deb, do you really think that prayer is going to do any good? You think prayer will save farming in Wisconsin?? WOW! What if there are a bunch of people praying that farming in Wisconsin gets wiped out? Then what? Those prayers kind of cancel out your prayers, don't they? All you "prayer" fanatics need to get a clue.
  • by Heidi Location: Chippewa on Jul 21, 2010 at 12:36 PM
    Huh - do you know much about crop insurance or how it works? If you dont sell it or buy it - shut it.
  • by Deb Location: Whitehall on Jul 21, 2010 at 10:09 AM
    As a farmer's daughter, I know how heartbreaking this is. I'll keep the farmers in my prayers, seems like that may be the only way to save farming in Wisconsin.
  • by Huh Location: EC on Jul 21, 2010 at 09:53 AM
    Heidi - The word "underinsured" speaks for itself, you didn't buy enough insurance. If you want more payout at loss time you buy a higher level of coverage. It isn't that difficult and it isn't the insurance companies fault that you didn't buy enough insurance, I am sure they would be more than happy to sell you more. Hopefully this farmer makes out okay and in the end he is correct, at least no one got hurt or killed.
  • by Steve Location: Island Lake, WI on Jul 21, 2010 at 09:05 AM
    It seems that there has been more severe and widespread damage from this storm than has been revealed by the media. How about the tornado reported by Barron County Sherif deputies? The damaged automobiles sitting in the car sales lots. Not to mention all the damage to the roofs of homes that were in the path of this storm. By the way, I would advise that anyone whose roof was hit by two to three inch hailstones (as mine was) perform an inspection of your roof. You almost certainly will experience a leaking roof in the near future. Call your insurance company and get it fixed now, before you encounter more damage to your structure. This was a powerful, serere and freakish storm, the likes of which I have never experienced in this area. My sympathy to all those who were nagatively affected.
  • by Heidi Location: chippewa on Jul 21, 2010 at 05:08 AM
    Crop insurance is not all its cracked up to all other loss insurance - they will reprimand you for being other words if your underinsured they will take a % off of what your total should have been. LOVE the insurance companies. Hard to insure for somthing when you dont know what its going to be for the year... I love a farmers perspective though - it could have been worse. They are the eternal optomists.
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