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Washington Farmers Concerned About Leftover Debris

What is left in the fields following the Washington tornado and how is that impacting farmers?

WASHINGTON - Washington farmers are battling more than just the frozen ground this year.

Although most of it has been removed, there are still small bits of debris on the fields from November’s tornado.

In the weeks that followed the Washington Tornado, Curt Zehr and his family removed debris that was spread across more than 300 acres of their land.

“We chiseled all that ground trying to get it all buried and we'll work it a couple more times before we plant,” said Zehr

Almost four months later what’s left are nails and small pieces of shingles; items that could seriously damage his farming equipment. Each flat tire would cost three precious hours to fix.

“In the spring time having a flat on a planter because every minute...every hour counts when you are trying to plant corn in a timely fashion,” said Zehr.

This means he has to be extra careful when planting seeds.

“Most of the time I'm looking back, looking at the planter and letting auto steer go. Now I'm more concerned  about watching in front. Now it's going to be stressful going through those fields.”

It will also be more costly.

“More fuel cost, equipment, more time to take beans to plan this year than it normally does.”

Unfortunately this won’t be the only hard spring for Washington farmers. Zehr expects to be battling the leftover debris for the next couple of years. For now he’s just glad for all the help from the community.

 “We've been very fortunate to have a lot of people help us over the last fall and winter. There are lots of people who need more help than we do.”

Zehr would like to be out in the fields by April 10th planting corn and April 20th planting beans. He says, however, that is unlikely.

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