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More than 1,800 dairy cattle killed in extraordinary fall in Washington state, offensive to farmers



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By Phil McCausland

A surprise snowfall in Washington State caused the death of more than 1

,800 dairy cattle a little over in a dozen farms, ways to dispose of cattle that are the main source of their livelihood.

A parched region of the state, the Yakima Valley is hosted with many dairy farms that use open lots for their cattle, meaning their buildings have no walls. It's usually not a problem because the area only gets six to eight inches of rain per year.

But on Saturday farmers say that a storm announces to bring three to five inches of snow, which is a huge snowfall by their standards, suddenly dropped 18 to 24 inches with winds of 40 to 50 mph and gusts of up to 80 mph.

Jason Sheehan, 44, ran a dairy farm of 5,000 cattle for 17 years in the valley. On Saturday, more than 200 of his cattle died in the storm. He did not see anything like this, he added, adding that is the latest challenge for dairy struggling producers.

"It's four years of thin margins and losses," Sheehan says, conducting 35 people in his dairy farm. "We are struggling financially for four years, and now Mother Nature is throwing another twist. It's a tough time to do it."


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