NewsState

Actions

Tornado kills four cattle, neighbors help farmer rescue the others

After the wild wind died down Saturday, one local farmer said many of his neighbors quickly offered to help find his remaining 37 cattle.
Tornado kills four cattle, neighbors help farmer rescue the others
Posted at 12:35 PM, Feb 12, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-12 13:35:33-05

ROCK COUNTY — Whether picking up debris, setting up lunch or driving heavy machinery everyone at Matt Artis’ farm Saturday made good use of their hands.

A tornado Thursday night took only two minutes to bring decades of his family’s hard work crashing down and killing four of his cattle.

“It’s very tough. I mean I enjoyed my cattle,” Artis said. “It’s just a passion that I’ve always had my whole life.”

Artis said he’s grateful he, his mom, and his dog, all home when the tornado hit, stayed safe around shattering windows and the roof above them coming apart.

His family’s 103-year-old barn was destroyed while fallen trees and debris were scattered across his property. Artis had bought the farm from his mother less than a month prior.

Despite all of that he’s choosing to stay calm. He said after learning to manage the aftermath of his mother’s stroke 10 years ago and the unexpected death of his father in October, he has found all he can do is just keep going.

“Day by day,” he said, “You can’t predict what the future is ever going to be.”

After the wild wind died down Saturday, Artis said many of his neighbors quickly offered to help find his remaining 37 cattle.

To aid in the search they brought drones, and ATVs, corralling the cattle onto trailers headed to a friend’s farm.

With his cattle and loved ones safe, Artis said his focus is now on cleanup. As friends, neighbors, and even strangers continue to offer their help, he also said the path forward is made a little less daunting.

“It’s just been amazing how quick they showed up,” Artis said. “They just randomly show up and start helping, and they just know what to do when it’s a casualty when it’s a farming community like this.”