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Sauk Co. farmer prepares to lead relief convoy to Nebraska

PRAIRIE DU SAC (WKOW) – A Sauk Prairie farmer is preparing to lead a relief convoy of supplies to his fellow, flood-devastated Nebraska farmers.

Joe Keller is using a warehouse at Wollersheim Winery as a drop off point for donations.  Paper goods, diapers, electrical supplies, feed replacement, veterinary items have been coming in.

“I have no doubt about the need out there,”  Keller says of Nebraska’s farm community.  “I have no doubt about finding people, areas out there that need as much as we can deliver.”

Officials estimate agricultural damage in Nebraska already tops $1 billlion.

Keller started his relief effort with a pitch on his Facebook page.  The response includes messages from hard-hit Nebraska.  One woman’s story epitomizes why he’s motivated to help.

“She told me about the night she and her family spent in a shelter scared for their lives,”  Keller says.  Heavy rains in Nebraska swallowed up rural properties quickly.  “It’s chilling to read,”  Keller says.

The steady stream of donors include Ed Wirka of Madison.  “Brought paper products, paper towels,”  Wirka says.  “And it’s a terrible thing.  Anything we can do to try to help.”

Keller’s effort is not affiliated with any established, disaster-relief group.  But he organized a similar effort to Kansas in 2017, when wild fires there wiped out crops.

Keller says his convoy of trucks will head to the northeast portion of the Cornhusker state.

“Finding some target farmers that are out there deep in the middle of all this, that aren’t getting the help and attention that they need and deserve,”  Keller says.

Keller says the drop off point will be available through Wednesday, when the convoy pulls out for the trip south.

He says flood victims in Nebraska are waiting.

“And they’re overwhelmingly appreciative and supportive and thankful.”

Tony Galli

Reporter, WKOW

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