Strong winds costly for area farm

Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Ron Niemeyer (right) and Quinten Stimel (left) study property damage caused by heavy winds Monday, May 20. (Sarah Reed/The Concordian)

Ron Niemeyer surveyed his field, reflecting on a large amount of damage caused by strong winds that threaded through much of the state. Sheets of tin siding and roofing had heaped into a mound, wood frames shifted and broke, and large shreds of metal had been crumpled and tossed across the field.

Three buildings on Niemeyer's land northeast of Emma were destroyed Monday, May 20, after a tornado watch was issued in the county. Local weather spotters indicated circulation in the clouds but no funnels were reported. Whether the damage was due to heavy winds or an unofficial microburst, one thing was clear -- it was an unforeseen setback on top of an already late planting season.

One of Ron Niemeyer's barns was shredded by strong winds that ripped support beams from the ceiling and ground. (Sarah Reed/The Concordian)

"The problem is we're getting into the field one month late," Niemeyer said.

Planting for many area farmers has been delayed as they wait for wet ground to dry. But as Niemeyer and his farm hand, Quinten Stimel, dragged layers of metal toward a trailer, planting seemed far from their minds.

"Just the loss of the building itself is overwhelming, because that's where we put our hay," Stimel said.

The damage seemed to target buildings with openings. Two barns -- one centered amidst the damage and another approximately 150 yards away -- were untouched. Decorating the yard, flowers dotted the landscape with bits of color and yard ornaments spoke to the presence of spring. It was a show of beauty unharmed by severe weather that threatened the area.

An adjuster with CFM Insurance noted multiple claims were filed this past week, but little damage was reported in Concordia. The storm system followed a northeast pattern. Most area claims were from La Monte, Knob Noster, Sweet Springs and Houstonia.

"We had some Concordia claims," Scott Lightfoot, with CFM, said. Those ranged from a few missing shingles to entire buildings blown over. "It (the storm) was so spread out -- it wasn't isolated."

For Niemeyer, the next step is cleanup as he and Stimel will attempt to salvage what materials they can.

"The problem with the insurance on buildings is you're not insured for replacement costs," Niemeyer said. "That's the financial downside of it."

Reconstructing the buildings will most likely come out-of-pocket for the farmer. Luckily, most of his equipment was in the field and relatively unscathed.

"We'll get what we can picked up for now until the fields dry back out, and then we'll be right back in the field and this will just have to wait, because the crops are the most important thing right now," Stimel added. "We're looking at weeks of tearing this thing back down."

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