KANSAS CITY, Kansas – Kansas ranchers and farmers face significant losses after wildfires and record winds that unleash the state.
KC Farm School in Gibbs Road is home to Market Farmers from all over the Metro who depend on its facilities to start growing the foods many KC locals eat.
Alicia Ellingsworth, co-founder and executive director of KC Farm School, said winds ravaged their property around 3 p.m. Wednesday.
“The problem with this weather is that it becomes so unpredictable and we have unusual and stronger storms,” Ellingsworth said.
The greenhouse frame and roof were damaged, costing the organization thousands of dollars.
“This greenhouse is really important, we do a lot of things there, we grow food, it’s our community space,” said Lydia Nebel, farm manager at KC Farm School.
The school was one of many damaged farms in Kansas this week. It is estimated that a fire in four counties in western Kansas burned nearly 400,000 acres of land.
The Kansas Department of Agriculture does not know what financial impact the fire has had, but the departments predicted that the long-term impacts would be substantial due to the loss of crops, livestock, tools, structures. and more.
“This is a significant loss of income for the next year and potentially the year after,” said Mike Beam, secretary of the Kansas Department of Agriculture.
KDA has set up a website for donations to help affected families, but there are fears that more damage may occur in the future.
The agency said wildfires in Kansas are not uncommon, but what was unusual was the large area the four-county blaze crossed.
“We’re not out of the woods yet, I mean that will be a concern as we get through winter and early spring,” Beam said. “We’re going to have more threatening days, and we hope we don’t have a day like Wednesday.”
Damage to KC Farm School was initially estimated at around $ 7,000, but due to continued community efforts and donations of labor and supplies, the cost has been reduced to less than $ 4,000.
“All the rules that were taught to us as a young farmer no longer apply,” said Nebel. “It impacts the life cycle of a plant, it causes a lot of uncertainty about how to grow, what to grow, when to put things in the ground … and it has a direct impact on what people do. eat.”
Nebel and Ellingsworth both said the answer could be regenerative agriculture – an agricultural technique that focuses on using fewer chemicals and is used to combat climate change.
“We know what work is and how to do it, the people are here, let’s unite and get to work,” Ellingsworth said.
The greenhouse roof is expected to be in place by Monday, and KC Farm School is ask for volunteers to help “raise the new roof”.