Iowa Nice donates to Nebraska farmers
By LAURA CARLSON
BELLEVUE – What began as a discussion with friends over coffee in an eastern Iowa community rapidly turned into a statewide effort of support.
“My heart is really back on the farm,” said Paul Kurt, of Bellevue, who was raised on a farm. “Farmers are really suffering. Some of these fields have two to three feet of sand on the top soil. This will take years to recover.”
Kurt’s friends decided to send barbed wire to aid Nebraska’s farming flood victims in rebuilding thousands of miles of fences that flood waters destroyed last month.
“The farmers will have to rebuild those fences to keep their remaining livestock in to graze the pastures which are turning green now that spring is here,” Kurt said. “We know a lot of hay bales left Iowa to aid the Nebraska farmers, and they are grateful. And now that the grass is growing, there will be a need for fencing supplies shortly.”
But the efforts didn’t end with him and his friends.
“An email was sent by one friend, and it has spread all over the state,” he said. “It is great to see Iowans do this for those flooded farmers.”
They soon discovered more fencing was needed.
“After speaking with the Nance County, Nebraska, Extension office, we learned farmers are in dire need of temporary electric fencing, T post and insulators,” Kurt said. “As of last weekend, 59 farmers had contacted Ashley at the Extension office asking for help with fencing.”
He added that they’re trying to get ahead of the curve.
“At first, I was going to collect donations and buy the barbed wire here and truck it over to eastern Nebraska, but the transportation fees subtracted from the amount of fence we could purchase,” he said. “When the Extension office offered to take the lead on gathering individual farmer needs and coordinate that with the Cedar Valley Lumber Company in Fullerton, Nebraska, we agreed.”
“They need the local retail business, and this allows every dollar Iowans donate to purchase fencing materials,” Kurt added. “The price per roll of Red Brand barb wire 12.5 gauge, 4 point, at 1,320 feet is $82 (with tax). Iowa cost for a T post is about $5 each.”
Chuck Carlson, chief operations officer at Oakland Corporation in Sioux City, said the company recently sent a check to help with recovery efforts.
Oakland Corporation provides an integrated grain, agronomy and fuel software, point of sale with prepaid bookings, budget accounts, cardtrol, and scale and field mapping interfaces.
“Someone forwarded the email to us, and the owners immediately agreed to support the effort,” said Carlson.
Kurt said he encourages $100 donations, which will pay for a quarter mile of fencing.
Checks can be made out to the Cedar Valley Lumber Company and sent to either Paul R. Kurt, 3485 Echo Hills Drive, Bellevue, Iowa 52031, or David Kramer, 104 Fifth St. S.E., Dyersville, Iowa 52040.
Each week. Kurt sends the checks to the lumber yard.
“The response has been gratifying,” he said. “We’ve got $1,500 as of Wednesday (April 17). This is what Iowans do; we help our neighbors.”
Those wanting more information can call the Nance County Extension Office at 308-536-2691. Expect to leave a message as the disaster needs have staff busy in the field.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is responsible for the townspeople’s needs.
“The plans include Cedar Valley Lumber and Nance Extension Office providing a donation receipt with a list of what was ordered with our combined money collected here in Iowa with this appeal,” added Kurt. “I’ll be visiting southeast Iowa and eastern Nebraska flooded areas on my vacation this year to offer my help.”
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