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Hog farm destroyed in NW Iowa tornados

Posted Oct. 8, 2013

Several late-season tornados ripped through areas of northwest Iowa on Oct. 4 and left millions of dollars in property damage.

Many farms appeared to be among the hardest hit, with the Lane and Kathy Tabke farm eight miles southeast of Moville in Woodbury County suffering severe damage, according to news reports and a family friend.

The tornado destroyed the Tabke home, two hog barns and several grain bins; heavily damaged a machine shed, auger and livestock trailer; took the tops off trees and damaged crops, friend Alison Swanson said. Much of the debris, including a stove and fuel tank, was scattered over a neighboring soybean field.

The roof of one of Tabke’s hog barns was completely blown off and set down just a few feet from the remaining structure. The roof of the other barn collapsed and had to be removed by an excavator before any of the hogs could be evacuated. Of the 2,000 hogs that were on site when the tornado hit, only 50 hogs are believed to have perished. The rest were taken to a packing plant in Storm Lake by neighbors who volunteered to help Tabke get the hogs to market, making several trips in the process, Swanson said.

The tornados hit just as harvest season is getting into full swing and with a neighbor's bean field full of debris from the Tabke farm, they have to work fast to clean it up.

News reports indicate as many as 100 volunteers, including several area high school athletes, were scheduled to pick up debris from the field on Oct. 9 to allow harvest to continue.

The Iowa Pork Producers Association has not received any other reports of storm damage to hog operations in northwest Iowa.

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