It has been nearly 6 months, half of a full year, since our generational family farm livelihood was completely devastated by a direct hit EF-3 tornado with winds up to 150 mph. As the hours grew into days, weeks and months we still are in disbelief of the magnitude of destruction in a matter of seconds to our home - our family's life work.
The emotions have been overwhelming in more ways than one could ever imagine. From the first shattering glimpse as our family stepped from the basement, discovering decades of dedication to a family farm demolished. To the first completion of a barn giving back normalcy to our cows and our daily way of life.
Every day has been more trying and demanding than ever before. However, we are certain this journey, in rebuilding our family's dairy operation to its original glory, would be very daunting without the support and aid of so many amazing people. There isn't a day that goes by which we are not grateful for the support from the very first moments of our new reality. It is because of all who outwardly continue to believe in us that we will persevere.
We all have been working around the clock, over the last few months, making great progress rebuilding all the while fully running our dairy and grain operation. The unforeseen cost for so much rebuilding material and labor has been staggering. Even with so many donating their skills, time, equipment and materials. As if having a tornado demolishing your barns and crops wasn't enough, the cost of fuel, labor and material has significantly quickly risen.
The bills have been piling in and we still have a long way to go in achieving our fund raising goal of 1 million dollars. To date the $120,000 plus raised has be able to pay for our heifer barn. The ladies have been truly enjoying their own space. We are so grateful for the generosity of all who have helped in this accomplishment.
That horrible day 7 barns were completely demolished. This does not even take into consideration all the electrical lines ripped away completely that had to be fully replaced, equipment damage/totaled and total feed storage loss.
As of now we have rebuilt 5 barns that we absolutely needed to ensure that all our cows have adequate living standards. We have replaced all 3 grain silos, grain dryer, grain augers, large feed storage barn, equipment repair shop, repaired equipment, replaced equipment, fixed damage to farm house, rebuilt pastures for the cows, removed debris from barnyard area as well as harvesting fields and tons of electric repairs.
Progress has been steady and promising because of all who have supported us mentally, financially and through volunteering! We are so very humbled and full of gratitude to you!! Thank you for believing in our family and our dream of rebuilding to our original glory as Wellacrest Farms.
With your continued support we will be one of the greatest success stories for generations to come!!
There isn't one person on the farm that hasn't been putting in more hours and stepping up to help rebuild Wellacrest Farms. Here is our grandson (7 yrs old) who has been eagerly getting up at 5am to help rebuild the family farm until dark every day he isn't in school. Although, if it was up to him he would just take a short leave from school. This is one of the reasons we will build back. Our future is bright with such grit and optimism of our young ones. ❤️
Another very late night as we put the finishing touches on the new silos, augers, wet bin and dryer. It was a foot race trying to get these up and running as we had crops that needed to be harvested and loaded into these bins. We had 4 silos and this complete setup that was totaled in the tornado.
New footers and bases had to be created for all 3 new silos as the entire area of the original silos were destroyed. We had to demo the complete area before we could start over from scratch. That included dismantling twisted silos and removing the footers for all 4 original silos. This was a very daunting and labor intensive task while running a dairy operation. The local companies that donated time and material during this process we will forever be grateful too. We were also very humbled by a farmer who had already purchased the last silo in the country that gracefully let us purchase his while he took our spot on the waiting list. Thank you!
One step at a time and we will make it back to the top! We were anxiously excited to start filling the bins this day. It turned out to be a good day all around.
Eric giving the thumbs up as we were able to get about 30,000 bushels of corn in a new dry and safe location on the farm. Harvest season was hot on us during this point at the farm and we were all working so hard trying not to fall any further behind than we already were. Thanks to the help of so many in helping us to not fall behind with new work and keeping somewhat of a normal schedule where we could. It feels good to just farm!!
One of our favorite completions was this barn for the girls. New stalls, plenty of room for each girl to hang out, curtains to block all that nasty wet winter weather and lights! Now we can see the girls for morning and night time checks properly and confidently know they are all doing well. Having happy cows is our biggest priority and greatest accomplishment.
The curtains were installed on all the barns. Now we can easily open them to create a beautiful air flow in good weather and close them to help protect the girls when it gets nasty out. All our new barns we decided to go with blue. We just think all this blue in the barnyard makes you feel happy!
We lost all the head locks along with the heifer barn. With the generous donations from this GoFundMe page we were able to rebuild the heifer barn and install all new head locks!! It is a beautiful facility for our heifers to relax, eat and be cows. Look at all the room they now have!! Happy Girls!
My girl Jersey, just hangin' livin' her best life in the new barn with new stalls and curtains. Love her ❤️
It has been wonderful having the garage back with a door and lights. This has allowed us to work later into the night on repairing much needed equipment out of the frigid winter weather. And really we are loving this blue. Looking back decades from now it will remind us what a horrific obstacle we were face with, yet how we were able to rise to the challenge thanks to the generous support and hard work of so many - complete strangers and friends alike.
Currently we are working on the hay barn. We saved what we could of the original barn which was super nice because of the height but after pricing it out to rebuild it back to the original barn it was clear a different style barn would have to work. So more blue!
Again, we could never thank all that have given to us so generously, and those who continue to keep the path lit. It is a blessing that we will humbly continue to honor with hard work and dedication in rebuilding this farm.
The Eachus Family & Wellacrest Farm Staff
Wellacrest Farms, est. 1943, located in Mullica Hill NJ, has been devastated by the tornado that ripped through their operation on the evening of September 1, 2021. Wellacrest, a state landmark, produces more than 17 million pounds of milk a year, delivering dairy to customers for almost 80 years. The aftermath of this event is overwhelming and the losses will continue to grow over the coming days.
The family is heroically utilizing the resources they have left to accommodate the needs of their cows, but every facility has been damaged by this storm in a catastrophic way. Many of the barns, hay barn, silos holding grain, equipment for field and barn yard and fields that were planted for fall harvest and winter feed are completely lost. This will be an extreme financial hardship for the family to endure, and they have a long road ahead towards recovery.
Wellacrest Farms has illustrated strong commitment for the well being of their cows which in turn has proven their commitment to their community over time. The farm has been blessed with many neighboring farmers who have the expertise to safely help on site. They have been tirelessly working towards clean up through the night and their efforts are on going but not enough.
To secure Wellacrest’s future and for our dedicated farming community to be most effective, they need more support. Please consider donating for this important cause that will aid in their recovery. We guarantee every dollar will go towards the rebuilding of this fundamental landmark.
Please help and give back to a family who has served so many for so long.