Reynolds talks clean up, crops in Tama County

Half of Iowa’s farmland impacted

T-R photo by Allison Graham Governor Kim Reynolds talks with Tama County Community Management Director, Mindy Benson and Tama Mayor Doug Ray at the Tama Fire Station Tuesday afternoon.

Iowa’s top leaders stopped in Tama and Toledo on Tuesday afternoon to assess storm damage and meet with community leaders.

Gov. Kim Reynolds and Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg were at the Tama Fire Station where she met with Tama County Emergency Management Director Mindy Benson, Tama Mayor Doug Ray and Toledo Mayor Brian Sokol. Rep. Dean Fisher and various other leaders were also on hand.

Benson said Tama County has begun cleanup in earnest with the Mahaska County Cert Team and Rubico in town assisting. Tama Mayor Doug Ray, Toledo Mayor Brian Sokol. “This morning I had talked about maybe 10 million (crop) acres impacted out of 22 million acres of corn and soy thats planted in the state of Iowa,” Reynolds said. “That doesn’t take into account stored grain so we will be collecting that data. That will be really important when we reach out to potentially qualify for a federal declaration and some of the other funding that will be available.”

Joyce Flinn, Director of Homeland Security Advisor, confirmed the USDA has some funding that will potentially be available.

Fisher expanded on the devastation to farmland in the county.

“There are just thousands of farm buildings, one of my neighbor’s houses lost their entire roof,” Fisher said.

Fisher himself was personally impacted losing two silos and part of the roof of his house.

Reynolds addressed the widespread power outages many communities are experiencing. Tama and Toledo along with much of Tama County and Central Iowa have now been without power for more than 24 hours. It is likely it will be several days before power is restored.

“It’s probably going to be out for quite awhile. They are working diligently to get that going,” Reynolds said.

Before leaving the fire station Major General Benjamin Corell, who was accompanying Reynolds shared a story at her request. In 2005 he took the 133 down to Shelby, Miss. where he saw very similar destruction.

“The surrounding Gettysburg area reminded me very much what I saw as we drove up her today,” Corell said. “That was back five years later and there were a lot of blue tarps on the roofs still that hadn’t been repaired. My comment to the governor was ‘we won’t see that here.’ We’ve got Iowans that are coming to help out their neighbors and do whatever it takes to get life back to normal.”

Reynolds’ parting message for the community was that of gratitude.

“There are people from surrounding counties, from Mahaska … you’ve got several emergency managers that are here on the ground working with the local emergency manager,” Reynolds said. “It’s just who we are and what we do. It’s just so Iowan when there is a need they show up and they help people in distress.

After her time at the fire station Reynolds was driven north on Harding Street in Tama to get a snapshot of the residential damage in the community. She then stopped at Fareway, which had serious roof damage, along with other damage well along Highway 63.


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