As Nebraska farmers struggle to cope with the aftermath of historic flooding this spring, aid continues to pour in.
Benjamin Syring, 25, of Stratford decided to do his own part by organizing a convoy of trucks to haul much-needed hay and other supplies. A group of about 15 people are taking the 10-hour trip starting 5:30 a.m. Friday morning, bringing a fleet of six pickup trucks and a semi, all full of hay except one truckload of fencing supplies. Once it reaches Nebraska, the group will be directed either to Elkhorn or another area that needs assistance.
Syring was inspired to spearhead his own collection after hearing about other groups that had made the trip. Knowing there was a lot of hay in his dad’s barn, and since the family no longer kept cattle, he called and asked to take a load down to Nebraska.
“He didn’t even hesitate,” said Syring. “He said, ‘load it up.’”
His parents ended up donating about 1,000 square bales of hay. “That got us fired up and going. We wanted more and more and more, so we started asking around,” he said. “It blew up really fast. Everyone’s really been pitching in.”
The list of donors took up four pages – a mix of local farmers, businesses, and strangers who just wanted to help.
According to a Nebraska contact coordinating the donation, the water has slowly receded. Since floods swept away the pastures and fencing, the next problem to tackle is keeping in animals no longer contained by the water. As many as a million calves have been lost and it will take farmers years to recover financially.
“It’s a lot worse than what a lot people know,” said Syring. “I hope they look into it and realize how bad it is, and hopefully we can get some more people helping out however they can.”
The group will spend the night in Nebraska before returning to Wisconsin on Saturday.