BEATRICE – Few have felt the effects of recent flooding harder than cattle producers.
“If you’ve got a cow herd and water that came down through them, you’ve got problems,” Heldt Cattle manager Mike Heldt said. “Your hay’s washed away, your grain, your mineral, everything. You’d probably be at wit’s end. I don’t know what you would do, really.”
Early estimates put livestock losses in Nebraska from flooding at over 400 million dollars. Some say this could reach one billion by the time everything is tallied.
Yutan, which is just west of the Platte River, received its fair share flood damage. Heldt and his family live just outside of Yutan – on the west side of the Platte. He says his farmstead missed the flooding by mere inches.
“The flood was awful close to us,” he said. “We sandbagged a river dyke to keep the flood off of us. It would have been devastating. On the east side of the river, they got wiped out there bad. It just makes you think, ‘that wouldn’t have been very good,’ and you feel sorry for the people that got wiped out. I don’t know what you’d do with your cattle. It’s a bad, bad deal.”
Heldt saw first hand how the flooding affected his neighbors, and wanted to help any way he could. He reached out to Dennis Henrichs of Beatrice 77 Livestock – a business partner of over seven years.
The two cattlemen, with the help of 1st State Bank Nebraska, partnered to organize a rollover auction on Monday, Apr. 1 at the Beatrice 77 sale barn, where bids on a black angus first calf family will go directly toward the Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund.
The cow-calf family is being provided by Heldt Cattle.
“This is the thing to do for Nebraska Strong,” Henrichs said. “This is the thing to do for Nebraska Cattlemen. It’s a small part, but we hope we can be a big part with the help of many others that come on board.”
Monday’s sale starts at 4 p.m. Henrichs says he wants to drum up as much interest in the auction as possible, and hopes to generate as much money as possible to help those in need.
“I hope the envelope is so thick that we have to get another one,” he said.
Beatrice 77 is no stranger to helping those in need. In 2017, the sale barn donated three semi-loads of hay to help those affected by wildfires in northern Kansas.
Heldt may have been spared from the March flooding, but he also recognizes the challenge that all cattle producers across the state have faced in the last few months.
“From the first of February, it was record cold with some snow events throughout that time,” Heldt said. “Then, it got to March, and it started to rain. It’s just been a tough calfing season for everyone in the state of Nebraska.”
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