LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 15, 2022) — Shared traumatic experiences can bring people closer together, even if they are normally miles apart. That was the case recently in the Muhlenberg County community of Bremen as Northern Kentucky livestock producers helped Western Kentucky livestock producers repair fences destroyed by the Dec. 10 tornado outbreak.
Dealing with the effects of a devastating tornado was all too familiar for the Campbell County farmers. In March 2012, their small community of Peach Grove suffered a blow from an EF-4 tornado. Campbell County cattle farmer Tim Bertram lost his home in that tornado.
“When we pulled up down here, we were like ‘oh boy,’” he said. “It’s the same kind of deal down here. It gives me the quivers to see it again.”
Bertram said the help he received in 2012 was phenomenal, and he wants to help others recover from similar devastation.
“We had a lot of help after the tornado hit my farm,” Bertram said. “There were five trailers coming down my driveway to help before the insulation stopped falling, and more people came that night to pick up debris in my fields. I just want to pay back the help that I got.”
The group of Campbell County producers traveled to Muhlenberg County with Don Sorrell, retired Campbell County agriculture and natural resources extension agent.
“Being an extension agent for 31-plus years, it is in your heart to serve other people,” Sorrell said. “We had experienced a tornado and received so much help up there in Campbell and Pendleton counties. That set the stage for us to repay all the volunteers and support that we received.”
Sorrell had a strong professional and personal relationship with Darrell Simpson, longtime Muhlenberg County agriculture and natural resources extension agent with the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. Sorrell contacted Simpson after he got the group of farmers together, and they began organizing plans to help.
The fence repairs come at a critical time for livestock producers with spring turnout quickly approaching.
“It’s so important to get these fences back up and get these cows back on grass,” Simpson said. “Really, it’s been a pretty tough winter with the muck and everything. We really need to get these cattle back out.”
The group was able to assist several area farmers including Muhlenberg County farmer David Jarvis. The night of the tornados, Jarvis lost most of his fencing, four buildings, two calves and damage to the roofs of two homes at his registered red Angus seedstock operation.
He said the support he has received has been so helpful but knows there’s still a lot that needs to be done to get his operation back to pre-tornado condition.
The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers." We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.