Farmers do what they do because they have a passion for farming and a love for their animals. The bond between farmer and animal is not strictly financial. Many farmers know their cows just by sight, which is incredible. Farmers are hardworking, independent care- takers of land and animals—and jacks-of-all-trades. And most are still at the mercy of the weather. Farmers enjoy having variety in their work, providing the world with food and fiber, and being their own bosses.
Per reports, the 29-year-old farmer, Michael, and 16 of his cattle have died in a freak accident after a deadly dome of air formed in a farm’s manure holding tank. The farmer reportedly died of gas poisoning on his family’s farm after being overcome by fumes of either methane or sulfur oxide. Initially, 13 of the farm’s cattle died as well; later, three more expired, bringing the total to 16 cattle deaths. The farmer’s father, Bob, said that the tragedy was the result of a perfect storm of unusual and unexpected weather conditions. When the tank was prepped to be pumped, warm upper air temperatures trapped the gases in a dome of air which then poisoned Michael and the cattle.
Michael was reportedly found dead when other workers arrived to begin hauling manure away from the tank. “The family is devastated, absolutely devastated,” Coroner Scott said. He also said that gas poisoning deaths typically occur in closed areas, making the incident even more surprising. The coroner said that atmospheric pressure prevented the gases from dissipating. The coroner went on to say that an investigation is underway to determine exactly what caused Michael’s death. The unfortunate farmer had safely emptied the same tank hundreds of times prior to the fatal incident.
The victim’s family honored Michael by parking a line of tractors and machinery along the road that passes the farm. Among the vehicles parked are a blue tractor, several red trucks, and Michael’s black pickup truck. “As if there isn’t already enough danger in the lives of farmers, this family had to suffer this freak accident,” one Facebook user commented on the story. “So sad.” Following the tragic accident, many are calling for tougher regulations to be placed on manure holding tanks to prevent a similar incident in the future.