Breaking News
More () »

1,600 cows die in Washington snowstorm as farmers work to protect livestock

Farming isn't easy even in the best conditions, and our severe winter weather has only made it harder.

Consumers may notice a shortage of eggs, milk and other perishable items as snowstorms continue to challenge Washington farmers.

Trucks have had a difficult time navigating roads while power outages have stalled processing.

Dairy farmers in the Yakima Valley reported losing about 1,600 cows to the winter weather. The Yakima Valley Dairy Farmers Association blames cold temperatures and winds gusting to 80 miles per hour for the cow deaths.

"The snow that we've had these last few days has definitely created challenges, not just for dairy farmers but all farmers," said Leann Krainick of Krainick Dairy in Enumclaw.

Krainick's dairy has had to plan ahead with feed, make sure the cows stay comfortable despite the low temperatures, and keep them on regular milking schedules — even when power goes out.

Snow has made it tough for livestock that are closer to the ground, like chickens.

Carnation Farms employees dug out snow around feeders on Tuesday.

"Otherwise they'll stay inside the coop all day," said Livestock Manager Alex Hagiepetros. "Making sure everyone stays fed and watered and safe."

With 18 inches of snow to deal with in Enumclaw, Krainick says it's been tough but farmers are used to adversity.

"We're doing everything we can to make sure that people do have food to eat," Krainick said. "We're working on it. We're working hard."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.