PIXABAY

Jun 28, 2022

After Tornado Damage to Grain Elevator, Kentucky Farmers Receive Relief

Governor says up to $3.25 million will help grain farmers continue to grow and process grains

Farmers in western Kentucky will get some relief after a grain elevator was damaged by deadly tornadoes in December.

On June 27, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear announced that up to $3.25 million will help grain farmers continue to grow and process grains. Funds are from the Team West Kentucky Tornado Relief Fund.

Tornadoes last December 10 and 11 devastated parts of western Kentucky, killing 81 people in the state. A Deere & Co. dealership and a Pilgrim's Pride chicken hatchery were destroyed, while silos at Mayfield Grain Co. holding millions of bushels of corn suffered damage.

Mayfield had roofs pulled off of parts of a storage system that holds six million bushels of grain. Photos on Twitter at the time showed yellow corn visible from the tops of bins that lost their roofs.

Graves County Grain Assistance Program

Gov. Beshear said the Graves County Grain Assistance Program has been established after being contacted by Graves County Judge/Executive Jesse Perry and local farmers.

The group was concerned about the potential loss of crop yield and sought assistance for local farmers, who are an important part of ensuring the state has an ample grain supply.

“This money will not only alleviate stress for local farmers due to the loss of Mayfield’s grain elevator, it also will help get grain to facilities that can process the product and keep the supply chain moving,” Gov. Beshear said.

“The potential loss of these crops is a disaster for the farmers of Western Kentucky, and ultimately is yet another factor in the rising costs we are all experiencing.”

Repairs underway at Mayfield Grain Co.

Family-owned and -operated Mayfield Grain Co. buys corn, soybeans, wheat and canola from approximately 200 local farmers.

At full capacity, it stores over 6.5 million bushels of grain. But the sustained damage limits capacity and backs up grain supplies across the commonwealth.

While repairs are underway, local farmers must travel 50 miles or more to the next nearest grain elevator to sell their crops.

The additional mileage and lack of larger trucks for hauling grain have increased costs for local farmers and threaten a loss of crop yield.

“Graves County boasts the fifth largest grain production in the state and is first in total value of agricultural products sold in Kentucky," said Gov. Beshear.

"It is critical that we do more to help this essential industry recover.”

According to data from the USDA, Mayfield is in Kentucky’s top county for agricultural sales, accounting for 6% of the state’s total farm business.

Graves County has more than 62,000 acres of corn and about 17,000 acres of wheat.

Mayfield Grain Co., founded in 1986, was recognized last year by the local chamber with the 2021 Agri-Business of the Year Award.

Kentucky farmers who conduct business with Mayfield Grain Co. can get more information about the Graves County Grain Assistance Program and apply for assistance at teamwkyrelieffundapp.ky.gov/grainassistance.

Lisa Cleaver

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