More than 1,600 dairy cows die in Washington blizzard
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“Cows were huddled in, pressed up against each other in corners of pens and refused to move. Farmers couldn’t get them to move into milking barns. Herd instinct,” said Gerald Baron, executive director of Save Family Farming, a farm advocacy group. “Most cows died from injuries from each other and some from cold exposure. They went down and couldn’t get up.”
About 28 cows that were injured are likely to be euthanized, farmers said.
“Each cow could be worth $2,000, so we’re looking at $3.2 million plus future production loss, but right now the bigger impact is a huge emotional loss to farmers,” said Dan Wood, executive director of Washington State Dairy Federation.
Dairy farmers already are struggling to survive in extremely difficult market conditions, so the storm losses are like a double-whammy, he said.
“Farmers put up hay bales for wind barriers and tried to do what they could. Farmers were out there in zero degrees or less with wind chill, risking their lives to save cattle,” Wood said.
No farmers or workers were reported injured, he said.