Repairs continue for farmers following July storm
Two months ago, on July 10, a straight-line wind storm and/or tornado ripped through the countryside just south of Hastings. Between Hampton and Miesville, trees were flattened, barns demolished and crops damaged.
Cleanup work continues, to say the least. Among those staying especially busy this summer are the farmers. Most lost irrigators in the storm because of the high winds. Couple the loss of those irrigators with the small amount of rain the storm brought with it, and the fact that the storm hit in a dry month, and getting those irrigators up and running quickly became a priority.
Steve Bauer, who operates Kimmes-Bauer Inc. south of Hastings on Highway 61, said his firm has replaced or repaired 30 irrigators this summer. He had four crews working 16-hour days, seven days a week, for a month, to get the farmers up and running again.
Crews were in a big hurry, Bauer said, because farmers had a chance this year to make a reasonable profit with the high commodity prices out there.
"Then, this comes through," Bauer said as he pointed to a field demolished by hail.
While the new irrigators were going up, the old ones were shoved aside. This fall, when things quiet down a bit for both the farmers and Kimmes-Bauer, the old ones will be hauled away. In the meantime, thieves have targeted copper wiring on top of the old irrigators. That left the insurance companies dealing with not just storm damage, but theft.
Bauer encourages farmers to check with their insurance agents on the value of the irrigators. Some had their irrigators insured for the amount they paid for them. With some of the irrigators dating back to the mid 1970s, many farmers found out they were underinsured.
Among the four crews that Bauer had working near Hastings this summer was a trio of South African men who are here on a seasonal work program through the government.
Pieter Jordaan, Ferdi Gouws and Eben Moolman make up the crew.
Bauer's father-in-law, Sylvester Kimmes, started the business in 1975. He had just retired from the road construction business, and had farmed some. He wanted to buy some irrigation equipment, but had to get on a waiting list to get an irrigator.
He drove to Nebraska, started looking around and saw the potential existed for a good business in selling irrigators. He recruited Bauer, and the rest is history.
"Being a Bauer, if I would only sell to my relatives, I'd have a pretty big business," Steve Bauer said. "There's a lot of Bauers around here."