Winter storm kills 1,700 cows in Eastern Washington

SUNNYSIDE, WA - "It was heart wrenching words can't describe it," said Kyle Vandyk, herd manager.

A storm they were prepared for but unfortunately it wasn't enough.

Dairy farmers in the Yakima Valley expected high winds and cold temperatures like many of us did this past weekend. Jason Sheehan owner of J and K Dairy Farm say it was much worse than they expected.

"We're ready for snow and we're always ready for cold what we weren't ready for was the sheer amount of snow and wind all at the same time and that's what really took everyone around here we just couldn't handle that the cows couldn't handle that.," says Sheenhan.

With winds at 80 miles per hour and whiteout conditions according to a Safe Family Farming report, around 1,700 dairy cows have died at farms across Eastern Washington, including cows at J and K dairy.

Sheehan says he's never seen anything like this.

"The amount of wind and snow all combined at the same time we've never seen anything like this in the amount of years we've been here and it's the first time for us and many other dairy farmers that we've had to stop milking our cows," said Sheenhan.

He says the number of cows he's lost is just too tough of a number to say, but he is thankful for all his employees, who did everything they could to keep the cows safe.

"We were telling people to stay home but they were showing up and people were staying longer than needed to because they wanted to make sure the cows were taken care of," said Sheenhan.

"To find out what you put your heart and soul into and your life and you lost some of them words can't describe the pain," said Vandyk.

Multi-Media Journalist

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