Advertise in Print | Subscriptions
Published June 28, 2010, 12:00 AM

Tornado destroys four hog barns near Sibley, Iowa

Losses still mounting for Osceola County hog farmer
Sunday 10:40 update SIBLEY, Iowa — Dead pigs were scattered and strewn about the Travis Dagel farmsite southeast of Sibley Saturday afternoon, more than 12 hours after a tornado ripped through four confinement barns on a path that destroyed farms and scattered debris for several miles in Osceola County.

By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe

Sunday 10:40 update

SIBLEY, Iowa — Dead pigs were scattered and strewn about the Travis Dagel farmsite southeast of Sibley Saturday afternoon, more than 12 hours after a tornado ripped through four confinement barns on a path that destroyed farms and scattered debris for several miles in Osceola County.

Dagel, who lives in Worthington, arrived on the scene shortly after 10:30 Friday night to find two of his four barns completely obliterated, a third moved at least 50 feet off its foundation and a fourth that, while still standing, will likely be declared a total loss.

As he watched volunteers move pigs around debris and toward the load-out chute Saturday, Dagel had yet to get a handle on the number of market-ready hogs lost to the storm. Those that were killed nearly mirrored the number that had to be euthanized due to injuries.

“Steel must have just flew around in there,” he said. “There were a lot of them that had slices down to their bone — a lot of 2-by-4’s in the side of pigs.”

With approximately 5,000 hogs housed in the barns, those that survived needed to be rounded up and hauled to another site. By early Saturday afternoon, Dagel said 35 semi-loads had left the farm, with at least another three loads of hogs waiting to be taken to shelter with access to food and water. All of them were taken to an empty barn about five miles away from the Dagel site.

While no one was at the farm when the tornado struck, Dagel said the volunteers were quick in coming.

“We got here at 10:30, and within a half hour there was 150 people here helping us,” he said. “By 7:30 Saturday morning, we finished the second barn. There were still about 50 people here and I probably knew five of them.

“It’s not like down South or out East or out West, where you’ve got to wait for the government to come take care of you,” he added.

Dagel was in awe not just of the power of the twister, but of the community’s residents who came to his aid.

“A lot of neighbors, older guys, family, Cooperative Elevator Association — the local elevator — they’ve got a lot of guys out here,” he said. “It’s amazing how many people showed up.”

The crew took a break from about 7:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. to get some rest, during which time Dagel said more volunteers showed up and just started cleaning up the debris. Twisted metal could be seen in fields surrounding the site.

Standing alongside a fence as pigs squealed in the background, Dagel said he hasn’t thought about what he’s going to do with the site. His first priorities were getting the pigs to safety and getting everything cleaned up.

“We just started taking loads out,” he said. “If this (storm) would have waited another three or four weeks, the barns would have been empty.”

SIBLEY, Iowa — Dead pigs were scattered and strewn about the Travis Dagel farmsite southeast of Sibley Saturday afternoon, more than 12 hours after a tornado ripped through four confinement barns on a path that destroyed farms and scattered debris for several miles in western Osceola County.

Dagel, who lives in Worthington, arrived on the scene shortly after 10:30 Friday night to find two of his four barns completely obliterated, a third moved at least 50 feet off of its foundation and a fourth which, while still standing, will likely be declared a total loss.

By Saturday afternoon, Dagel had yet to get a handle on the total number of market-ready hogs lost to the storm. Those that were killed instantly nearly mirrored the number that had to be euthanized due to injuries.

For the rest of this story, see Monday’s Daily Globe or visit us online at www.dglobe.com.

Tags: