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Ping Pong Ball Hail and 90 MPH Winds Destroy Nearly $50 Million of Montana Crops

Photo courtesy of ecgarrison/Flickr

A combination of 90 mile per hour winds and ping-pong ball sized hail destroyed the livelihood of many Gallatin County farmers on the evening of Thursday, August 1.

Matt Flikkema who is the vice president of the Montana Grain Growers Association as well as a farmer in the Manhattan area, explains what the storm was like.

“It pretty much mowed the crops to the ground,” Flikkema said. “Some of the growers that I’ve talked to say we may see somewhere in the neighborhood of $50 million damage in this county. It started in the Harrison area, it hit growers in Wilt Crick, North of Norris Road, all the way through Manahattan and Belgrade and all the way up to Menard.”

Flikkama says that he has never seen a hail storm like this one. In the past he says he has seen storms damage around 30 to 50 percent of crops, but that this storm left nearly all of the crops in ruins.

Crop insurance will undoubtedly be called upon by many farmers, but it is still uncertain how many farmers had insurance and at what level. The total amount to be requested is still uncertain.


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