Nebraska rancher says he’s recovered after historic flooding four years ago

LINCOLN, Neb (KLKN) – Hank Klosterman, who operates a cattle ranch a few miles outside of David City, said he lost nearly 20% of his herd about four years ago when the Platte River flooded.

When the water started coming in, Hank said he and the other ranchers raced against the flood to try and get the cattle out of their pastures along the banks of the river.

He said unfortunately they weren’t able to move the cattle, and instead had to get themselves out for their own safety.

“It happened so fast,” he said. “You’re trying to coerce cattle to cross depths of water that were too deep and it all happened so fast, that we knew we had to get the people out of here.”

SEE ALSO: Nebraska farmer says it will take years to recover from historic flooding

Klosterman said they not only lost cattle but fencing and other resources that were left behind. At the time, he estimated their operation may have lost as much as seven figures.

He said the pastures were covered with as much as 15 to 20 feet of water and ice, which made it hard for the land to recover.

“It was amazing to see the amount of debris that comes off the river water, the flood waters,” he said. “This was completely covered with up to a couple feet worth of sand that had come off the river and we didn’t know if the grass would come back through.”

After making it through the disaster, Klosterman said he’s happy to see the progress that’s been made on the land.

He said the ranch has been in his family for five generations, and over time they’ve become pretty resilient to droughts, floods and catastrophic weather.

“You know, we forge forward,” he said. “It’s basically persistence, the generations before me have taught me that it’s persistence.”

Categories: Nebraska News, News, Top Stories