It was a great time to bug out of Illinois as the wind chill dipped to minus 60. Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle on October 10, 2018 as a high category 4, with wind speeds of 155 mph, causing massive destruction along the panhandle coast, near Panama City. Damage was nearly as great 50 miles inland, near Marianna, Florida.
The Fellowship of Christian Farmers has been busy organizing disaster relief trips since October, and this report is from one such trip at the end of January. FCFI Area Leader Mike Weaver and long time farm show volunteer Mike Brehm led the way, and worked on a crew organized by FCFI, which provided a crew of young, strong men and women.
This group was very handy with a chainsaw, and moved effortlessly through the thick entanglements of fallen trees, brush, and vines. A total of over 80 man-hours of work was accomplished in two days of very hard work on Kent and Virginia Beard’s family farm, just outside of Marianna, Florida. The pastureland covers 960 acres, with 125 head of cattle, plus calves. Much of the land is open pasture, but there is significant forested areas for shade. Miles of fenceline run through the woods, and most of that fence has trees laying on top of it. The crew’s job is to clear that fenceline of trees and brush, and reattach or replace barbed wire.
The weather was cloudy and quite cool for Florida, but at least it was not Midwestern below zero. The temperature was quite comfortable for physical work.
A critical area was the fenceline along Interstate 10, which the farm borders. Keeping cattle off of the interstate is high priority. It is not known how many cattle have been lost, as many areas still need to be cleared. It is estimated that the work may continue for up to 2 years. So if you are skilled with a chainsaw and barbed wire, please prayerfully consider making a trip to the Florida Panhandle and contributing your time and talents to helping these farmers recover from the most devastating hurricane in a decade.
The Fellowship of Christian Farmers, International can be reached by visiting our website at www.fcfi.org, or sign up here –> Volunteer! You may also call the home office at 309-365-8710, or Executive Director Dennis Schlagel at 309-530-7004. If you can’t make the trip, but still want to help out, donations will be gratefully accepted at www.fcfi.org/donate, or by mail at:
The Fellowship of Christian Farmers, International, P.O. Box 15, Lexington, IL 61753.
Praise the Lord and thank you for your support!