Sarasota deputies return to Nebraska for farm aid effort

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Sarasota County Deputy Robbie Martin will never forget what he saw the time he was in Nebraska.

“Part of the roads we saw was nothing but a sea of water,” Martin said. “We saw homes that were destroyed. A lot of the roads we went by, I mean it was just littered with furniture from people that got flooded out.” 

That was in April—when the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office Agriculture Unit traveled with community volunteers to the Midwest to deliver assistance to farmers, one month after downpour flooded the Cornhusker state. 

March’s bomb cyclone dropped heavy rain and snow, as officials estimated $400 million in damages to crops. That doesn’t include $400 million in livestock. 

“When we were on our way there, Google Maps was trying to take us a certain way, and part of the roadway was washed out,” Martin said. “We had to drive three hours out of the way to get to our destination. 

Martin can still picture the elderly farmer, who was shocked that they’d traveled all the way from Florida. 

“He had one gray cowboy hat, so weathered, it was such a dirty hat, and his hands were so weathered,” Martin added. “When I told him we were Florida; he couldn’t believe that we drove all the way up to help them there. Just the look on his face was worth the trip for me.” 

He’s a big part of the reason Martin going back. 

Thursday morning, his team heads to Elkhorn, Nebraska to deliver hay, cattle feed, fencing supplies and more. 

“We did fundraisers to raise money to pay for the hay and the feed,” said Deputy James Achille. “A lot of the other trucks and trailers that are going are private citizens of Sarasota County.” 

“Resources are still needed,” added Martin. “It’s not something that you can give them a one-time donation and it’s all good. This is going to take a couple of years to recover from.”

Below is a list of all organizations involved in the effort:

- Schroeder-Manatee Ranch
Albritton Fruit Farm
Fruitville Feed
- Stockyard Feed
Sarasota County Cattlemen’s Association
- Glen Peachy Hay Farm
- Detwiler's Farm Market
Walpole Feed
- Chasing Tails Mobile Veterinarian
- Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office