The Worst Weather Disasters of 2018

November 22, 2018 08:00 AM
Farmers faced a myriad of weather disasters in 2018. From drought to flood and hurricane to drought, farmers saw it all.

Farmers faced a myriad of weather disasters in 2018. From drought to flood and hurricane to drought, farmers saw it all. Below we outlined the worst weather disasters that hit farm country in 2018.


Tropical storm Gordan made landfall on Sept. 4, reaching its peak intensity with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. After making landfall, Gordon weakened into a tropical depression. And just two weeks later the East Coast braced for Hurricane Florence. Hurricane Florence reached Category 4 status shortly before heading toward West Virginia. Thankfully it weakened to a Category 2 storm before hovering over West Virginia for several days. Still, farmers raced to get crops out of the field in preparation for harvest. Smithfield and other plants closed ahead of the storm and farmers prepared their farms the best they could. Despite their best efforts, several hog and poultry farms were affected by the storm’s flooding. In October, Georgia cotton farmers were stripped of their crops by Hurricane Michael, which made landfall with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour, becoming the strongest storm of the season.

NC Farmers Rush Harvest, Prepare for Florence

How North Carolina Farmers Prepped for Hurricane Florence

NC Pork Council: No Substantial Impact to Hog Farms After Florence

Floodwaters Impacting Some Hog Farms; Meat Plants Reopen

Georgia's Cotton Crop Devastated by Hurricane Michael



It was quite the year for tornadoes as well. In July, Vermeer Corporation in Pella, Iowa, sustained significant damage to their corporate headquarters while more than 400 dealers and customers were onsite for an anniversary celebration. Farmers in the area also sustained damage to crops. That same storm system also hammered a JBS plant in Marshaltown, Iowa. In August, Wisconsin experienced a string of tornadoes, one of which leveled a freestall barn full of cows on Pebble Knolls Dairy near Waupun. Neighboring farmers pitched in to help. Dairy farmers in Georgia suffered from a tornado during Hurricane Michael.

Vermeer Corporation “Takes a Direct Hit” From Tornado

Marshalltown, Iowa, JBS Plant Suffers Tornado Damage

Tornado Destroys Wisconsin Dairy Barn

Farmers Lend a Hand to Dairy Tornado Victims

Georgia Dairy Hit by Tornado, Sets 127 Cows Loose



Large swathes of farm country suffered from drought this year. The dry forecast influenced many planting decisions, and still farmers in Missouri and Texas were ultimately forced to bail their grain crops for livestock feed. All eyes were on the drought monitor for much of the growing season. In the southern plains ranchers culled heavily to reduce cow numbers and many started feeding hay earlier than normal.

Drought Conditions Dampen Financial Picture

Vital But Unfunded, How Accurate is the U.S. Drought Monitor?

Despite Rain Drought Intensifies, Forces Early Culling and Hay Feeding

Texas Farmers Baling Grain Crops Amidst Drought

Drought Cuts Pasture Growth; Farmers Face Culling Cow Herds

Missouri Farmers Seek Forage Options as Drought Cuts Grass Growth




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