York County Farmer – And Others – Hammered By Hail Damage Tuesday Night

June 15, 2022, 3 p.m. ·

Partially destroyed corn plants from hail damage
The golf-ball sized hail Tuesday night destroyed many of the Stahr's corn and soybean crop. (Photo courtesy Brian and Jerry Stahr)

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Crop damage from Tuesday night's storms will add another worry for farmers in the middle of drought conditions.

Thunderstorms hammered York County – like much of the state – Tuesday night. The county saw 5-7 storm cells over a matter of hours, according to the National Weather Service in Hastings. With those storms came ping-pong ball sized hail.

"It sounded like someone was taking a baseball bat to a piece of metal," said Becky Stahr, a York High School teacher who farms with her husband. "It was just absolutely scary."

After the first wave of hail stopped, Stahr, her husband and her father-in-law checked their fields east of town. She said the crops were largely shredded.

"Usually you see crops and it has perfect rows," she said. "The corn and the beans, I mean, we were looking beautiful as of yesterday. Like everything just looked great. We had avoided those previous storms that had come through. Then now you're looking at these fields, and it's almost unrecognizable."

The fields now look like one of her kids ran by and ripped the tops off the plants, she said. The family has crop insurance, but, beyond that, Stahr said they’ll need to get some advice from others before making any decisions. She said replanting doesn’t seem like an option at this moment.

"You are farmers in Nebraska and that is kind of the way of it for sure. But we haven't had, I'd say, something of this level in a very long time."

The city of York accumulated 1.72 inches of rain Tuesday night, according to the weather service. The county did not have a tornado, though Seward and Lancaster counties to the east did.