4-H’ers help fellow 4-H’ers

Posted April 4, 2019 at 5:00 am

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By Julie Ann Madden

Collecting livestock feed and fencing supplies is the mission of the Eager Beavers 4-H Club of Alcester, S.D., with assistance from their leader, Kim Renken, and Iowa farmer, Rick Hughes of Akron — in coordination with S.D. High Plains Fire Relief in Beresford, S.D.

Their efforts have resulted in several loads of round hay and cornstalks bales and fencing supplies being delivered to Niobrara, Neb., area farmers this past weekend.

The first semi load of hay left Iowa Friday and the second left South Dakota Saturday.

They have hired truck driver Samuel Krause of Goodwin, S.D., to haul the semi loads. Plus, Tim Renken and Greg Kleinhans, both of Alcester, have driven their own flat-bed trailers with loads, too. An Eager Beavers alumnus, Trent Rus, also drove a load on Saturday.

“It looked like a bomb had gone off or a large tornado had gone through the area,” said Eager Beavers 4-H Club Leader Kim Renken of Alcester, S.D., who thought she wouldn’t be affected after seeing so many Facebook and news photos of the flood-ravaged areas. But on Saturday, she was shocked at the reality she saw.

“One owner we took hay to said she’d rather deal with the aftermath of a tornado than a flood,” said Kim who toured the damaged farm with owner Tabatha Neilsen.

“Their property had been totally destroyed,” said Kim, noting all that they had left were one Morton building, a wooden office building and some grain bins.

“Their machinery building looked like a twisted tin can,” said Kim, adding luckily the family’s cattle and homestead were at a different location. “Large trees had all the bottom bark ripped off by floating ice.”

In the last couple of weeks, the Neilsens have hauled out 18 semi side-dump loads of ice, she said.

Another farm they delivered hay to was a retired farm couple who had a whole herd of cattle show up at their feedlot. Although they had no livestock of their own, they went right back into caring for cattle — from fencing them in to doing chores and assisting the cows with calving, said Kim. They are just waiting for the cattle owners to come claim them.

Several Eager Beavers 4-H’ers will be taking a load of feed and fencing supplies April 3.

“The Niobrara farmers are so grateful that they are going to have a cookout so our 4-H’ers can meet their Nebraska 4-H’ers,” said Kim.

“We appreciate all the support we have received this far,” said Kim.

“We are still looking for a lot of fencing supplies,” said Hughes.

The club has received donations, including feed, fencing supplies and monetary contributions, from people in South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa and Minnesota, said Kim.

The drop-off sites for hay and cornstalk donations are the Union County Fairgrounds in Alcester or Hughes farm at 19734 K-13 in rural Akron.

Donations for fuel costs can be made to PayPal via helpnebraskahayfund@gmail.com or by mailing a check to Help Nebraska Hay Fund, 30367 481st Ave., Hawarden, IA 51023.

To make feed or fencing donations, call Kim at 605-941-6517 or Rick at 712-551-6438.

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