WOODWARD, Iowa — In just minutes, Monday’s derecho flattened 10 million acres of farmland. That could mean a multi-billion dollar hit to the state’s corn crop. Some of those acres belong to the Bices of Woodward, who were especially hit hard from the storm.
The Bices have hog, cattle, and grain farms and were out working when the sky began to darken.
“[My husband] was mowing and I was finishing up chores, and you could see the storm coming in,” Missy Bice said. “So I ran in and changed clothes and we hopped in the van and started heading home. We didn’t get down the lane and it started to blow pretty hard, rain and hail.”
Trapped on a gravel road, the Bices felt the wind rattle their vehicle while watching the storm take it’s toll.
“You pull into home and cattle barns are gone, grain bins are gone, there’s a tree on top of the house, mature trees are laying on the ground,” Missy said.
“Stuff we built for the last 40 years, in 20-25 minutes were gone,” Missy’s husband Rod said.
Eight grain bins, a machine shed, hog and cattle barns, a shop, an office, almost every building is now scattered across their land.
“The last couple of days have just kind of been a blur,” Missy said.
Not to mention the acres and acres of corn now flattened like a pancake.
“Quite frankly, I just hope they die and wilt away because this will take us a long time to harvest and the grain quality will be poor,” Rod said.
Usually that corn would be harvested in a few weeks and taken to the local Landus Cooperative. But instead of the Bices coming to Landus, Landus came to the Bices.
“We didn’t call and ask. They just showed up,” Rod said. “That was the first time it actually hit me, you know.”
With food and water in tow, Landus employees showed up unannounced ready to help clean up.
“You get to know people personally and professionally, you know,” Janette Smith said. “It’s family. It’s agriculture. You help one another in times of need. You just do that. You do it for your friends. You do it for your family and farming is family.”
A family that’s been hit hard this week, but like always will get through this together.
“It’s Iowa, midwest, just people helping people,” Rod said.
The Bices said after cleaning up all the debris, the next thing is to start rebuilding, but even that will be a challenge in itself. Due to the pandemic, building materials have gone up about 25 percent in price.