Mechanicsville

Witnessing devastation on levels she’s never seen before in Cedar Rapids and Marion, Senator Joni Ernst made her way to Jones County Wednesday, Aug. 19, and was once again awe-struck with the power in which Mother Nature released her fury during the derecho that tore through the area Monday, Aug. 10.

“This is just unprecedented devastation, seemingly everywhere,” said Ernst, who toured the Sharff farm in Jones County, just north of Mechanicsville, which suffered enormous damage.

“It’s like nothing we’ve ever seen in our lifetime, and hopefully, we’ll never see again. Before last Monday, I didn’t even know what a derecho was, but to see the path of devastation it left and how it’s affected people’s lives, it’s absolutely incredible. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”

Kerry Sharff and his family (wife Nora, daughters Mariah and Eva and son Reese) weren’t home when the storm hit Aug. 10, instead enjoying a relaxing vacation in Okoboji. But what they came home to was a compete nightmare.

“We were in shock,” he said. “I’ve never heard that 130 mile-per-hour winds were even possible in Iowa without a tornado. We’re lucky, though. Everything we lost can be replaced. There are a lot of people a lot worse off than us. I went to Clarence and saw damage a lot worse than what we’re experiencing here. It’s just amazing what the wind can do and the damage it leaves behind.”

Sharff said crop-wise, because of the storm, he expects beans to out-yield corn at harvest.

“We’ve had a bad year weather-wise,” Sharff said. “We had a really bad storm back in July, too, that did plenty of damage to the crops, too. Now, we add even more crop damage as well as plenty of building damage because of this storm, and it’s going to take us some time to recover.”

Ernst wanted to make sure Sharff knew that the government is doing everything they can for the Iowa farmer.

“President Trump making his visit to Cedar Rapids on Tuesday finally brought some national media attention to our disaster here in Iowa,” Ernst said. “It’s been crazy the lack of attention we’ve been getting from the national media since the storm hit. To them, it’s like it didn’t even happen, but help is coming.”

Lee Hein, of the Iowa House of Representatives, was also on hand at the Sharff farm touring the damage with Ernst.

“I think I’ve given up on saying what else could happen in 2020,” Ernst said. “We’re all in this together, and together we’ll make it through.”

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