MILLIKEN, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado’s historic flooding has created all sorts of problems for farmers, with transportation being perhaps the biggest concern.
The Bernhardt Dairy Farm on Highway 60 in Milliken is still soaked from the flooding, but it doesn’t look anything like the disastrous scene it did several days ago. When the flood waters moved from the mountains and into the plains Copter4 showed several Weld County farms like the Bernhardt farm where whole properties were under water and heads of cattle were paralyzed by water.
“It was the highest (water) that we had ever known,” said Tim Bernhardt, who co-owns his family dairy farm.
“Our top priority is taking really good care of our cows,” Bernhardt said.
The Bernhardt farm is one of the oldest in the state. There are 900 cows there, and three died from complications from the flooding.
When cows are traumatized they don’t eat and then milk production drops.
“We are producing 80 pounds of milk per cow per day here, so it’s close to 9 gallons per cow per day,” Bernhardt said.
Production has slowed a bit, so comfort for the animals is key.
Bernhardt and other farmers have major economic concerns in the flooding aftermath. They are urgency waiting for officials to open several roads and clean up the Big Thompson River so it can get back to its normal channel.
“It’s so critical for transportation,” he said.
The farm’s feed operation is just north of the river — about a mile away. When the Big Thompson River flooded and roads closed it became a 78 mile round trip drive to deliver the feed to the animals. As roads have opened that trip is only a little better — 48 miles.
“These guys are working hard out there and I just appreciate that, but if we could get more roads open it always helps all of us,” Bernhardt said.
Farmers having trouble getting feed to their animals can contact the Weld County Animal Response Team through the Weld County Sheriff’s office. They are giving away free bails of hay.
The Colorado Farm Bureau has set up a disaster fund to aid farmers and ranchers directly impacted by the recent flooding in Colorado. Checks can be written to the Colorado Farm Bureau Foundation. Learn more at coloradofarmbureau.com/disasterfund
Colorado Floods: How To Help
The recent floods are impacting families and communities throughout Colorado, so CBS4 has compiled a list of ways you can support the local communities impacted by the floods.