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Poultry farmer loses entire flock, estimated $2 million in damages after a tornado

One western Kentucky Farmer lost 40,000 birds and two barns but as he processes the loss, he is grateful for what he still has - his family.

LOGAN COUNTY, Ky. — A week after tornadoes tore across Kentucky, many are left wondering what's next.

Brittnay and Justin Dorris had a 177-acre chicken farm in western Kentucky. During the storm, their two barns were ripped shreds and they lost their flock of about 40,000 birds.

“It just doesn't really seem real,” Brittnay Dorris told us.

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture said at least 30 poultry barns have been damaged or lost due to the tornadoes. A spokesperson for the department said it will take weeks, maybe even months, to access all the devastation to agribusinesses across Kentucky.

Justin Dorris estimates the damage to their Logan County farm to be around $2 million.

Credit: Dorris Family Farm

“I mean, yeah, that's a lot of money. And of course, it is our livelihood. But it's the important stuff is right here,” Dorris explained with his wife and toddler by his side. “A lot of people lost a lot more.”

Before the sun came up, Justin went to check on his livestock Saturday and when the sun rose and revealed the devastation, he said people poured in to help.

“We're in the middle of nowhere. I don't know how these people even found out. But they just started showing up,” Dorris said. “Losing the barns isn't as emotional to me as the help that showed up... that is what made me emotional. Just seeing people just come and volunteer not expecting anything in return. You really don't see a lot of that anymore.”

The young family is still trying to process the experience.

“I'm very thankful that it was at a time when none of us were in the barn because there was nowhere to hide," Brittnay said. "There was no safe place to go. But at the same time, I'm just like, wow, this, we worked so hard for this. And it really sucks to see it like this."

Credit: Doris Family Farm

It took about nine months for them to get up and running. Now, the young family is grappling with what to do next: Will they rebuild, and how?

“We can make it through it. Just start over again. Let's take one day at a time. But we're lucky,” Justin Dorris said.

You can donate to the Kentucky Agriculture Relief Fund at gofundme.com/KyAgReliefFund. For more information about this fund click here.

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