Farmers' Frustrations Follow Tornado

By: Justin Williams
By: Justin Williams

As homeowners sift through what remains of their belongings, many Stoughton area farmers are struggling to survive. One farmer says Mother Nature just may have talked her family out of farming in the future.

"You never think this is gonna happen to you," says Stoughton-area farmer, Larry Johnson.

Clearly, this is a community which continues its struggle to cope.
Johnson explains, "Tornado came through. It picked it up and it rolled it. Rolled it right back up on its tires right here and this is where it settled by. it was a garage here."

While much of the home damage is now well-documented, Stoughton area farmers are just coming to grips with the tornado's true terror. "We had a total of three sheds, and, basically, that we used that are all gone now," says Laurie Slinde, a local tobacco farmer.

According to Laurie, the Slinde tobacco farm's three sheds were valued at around $50,000, collectively. Add this to their $10-15 thousand tobacco field which was also destroyed. "(Insurance'll take care of this stuff though, right?") "No, no the tobacco fields, we didn't insure them, and the two sheds over here, and Stu's dad's shed, no," she says.

Laurie says the loss is simply too much for the Slinde family farm to bear. "We're probably out of the tobacco business, we're probably gonna have to, cuz we can't afford to replace the sheds," she concludes.

Meanwhile, Larry explains the continuing cleanup effort will involve another push when area farmers are forced to deal with debris as they head for harvest. "One of the big headaches, especially for the farmers, is what's in that field, and, when you go and plow it or work it again, it cuts the tires up, and you know, on your tractors. We'll get over it, but it's kind of a hassle."

Laurie says the Slinde family also operates a flooring and window treatment business, explaining this is where it will focus much of its efforts, hereafter.


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