At 1:30 am on Nov. 30, an EF-2 Tornado wreaked horrific damage to Polk and McMinn Counties, in Tennessee’s most southeast corner.
In Polk County, TN, a couple lost their lives and an estimated 50 structures or houses were either totally destroyed or severely damaged.
Among the areas receiving the worst property damage was a roadway that’s long been known as one of Tennessee’s most beautiful farming corridors, TN Hwy 307. At one end, the roadway is anchored by the Mayfield Dairy Farms Dairy Processing plant in the town of Athens, TN, and then runs for several miles up to Hwy. 68 in Monroe County. In one very nice modular home subdivision on that highway, 30 structures were either totally destroyed or severely damaged.
Blan & Kathy Dougherty, long respected as being one of the best teams in Tennessee as both a dairy farming couple and agricultural and community leaders, owned the dairy operation which received by far the worst structural damage. In just a matter of a couple of minutes or less, their milking parlor was destroyed, barns which sheltered their excellently-cared for cows were decimated, and the feedways where the cows ate were obliterated.
An article in the Athens, TN newspaper, the Daily Post-Athenian, relays more details.
Approximately 11 hours or less after the storm, and thanks to a great crew of family members, friends from area farms and agribusiness, and the generosity of a fellow farmer, 130 milking cows were relocated to a neighboring dairy farm, just over the GA state line, and only 45 miles away from the home farm.
Due to the devastating damage to their milk barn and animal housing facilities in that tornado, and the time it will take to repair them, Blan and Kathy concluded that it’s in the best interest of the cows to help them find new homes via an auction. This is one of Tennessee’s best herds. The milking herd and bred heifer dispersal will take place on Friday, December 16, at Noon, at the Athens Stockyard in Athens, TN.
The cows are receiving great care and extra attention at this temporary home, from caretakers who believe in animal welfare and have years of experience in taking care of high-producing dairy cows, and have really done exceptionally well. The Doughertys will keep some of their heifers while they make decisions about their future. This is an extremely difficult decision for any farmer to make, and we ask for folks to keep them in their thoughts and prayers during the transition. More information pertaining to the sale and individual cows will be posted before the sale.