Floods of the Umatilla River Cattle owners donate hay to help animals. Local news

ELGIN – The severe floods that hit Umatilla County almost a month ago did much more than leave many homeowners with devastating damage to their home and property. It has also put thousands of horses, cattle, sheep and goats at risk of starvation by destroying hay and pastures.

Fortunately, none of these animals have been lost due to the famine and people like Ryan’s and Amanda Tsiatsos’s husband and wife team are doing their best to prevent this from happening.

The couple are among about 50 cattle owners who are donating hay to help livestock in Umatilla county and the southern edge of southeastern Washington. On Sunday, Ryan and Amanda donated 111 bales of hay to Emergency Equipment Solutions. The nonprofit based in Burns, a public safety disaster preparedness and relief organization, is making an effort to get as much hay as possible to Umatilla county farmers and ranchers who need assistance.

The hay donated by the Tsiatsos family weighed around four tons and was worth between $ 600 and $ 800.

“We had extra hay and we could sell it or give it away,” said Ryan Tsiatsos. “We gave it to them because they needed it, it was an easy choice to make.”

Ryan Tsiatsos took about 90 minutes to help emergency equipment solutions load hay onto trailers early Sunday morning before he was immediately taken to Umatilla County. The hay was supplied to some of the 107 livestock owners who informed the EES that they urgently needed hay, fencing or both. To date, 370 tons of hay have been supplied to these farmers. To say that farmers and ranchers are grateful for the assistance they are receiving is an understatement.

“We delivered two tons of hay to a breeder (about a week ago) and it literally broke and cried,” said Valerie O’Dai, senior disaster relief coordinator for emergency equipment solutions.

The donated hay that EES is offering is helping to avoid hunger for over a thousand farm animals. O ‘Dai fear, however, many others are at risk. He explained that many farm animals ran towards higher ground off their owners’ land when the flood hit. Some managed to escape because the flood waters brought down the fences and others were freed by the landowners who opened gates to run their animals safely. Unfortunately, some animals have not returned, so their status is uncertain.

“Many are not justified,” said O’Dai, a Union County resident.

He fears that some, including horses, may suffer from poor nutrition while alone. O’Dai said that horses normally eat 15-20 pounds of hay a day and that the herbs they are eating in its place do not fill a vacuum.

“There are not enough nutrients in the herbs (they are eating),” said Oai.

Some of the farmers and ranchers who received the hay thought they were in good shape in terms of hay stocks in the week following the flood. So much of their hay suddenly became moldy, making it a threat to horses and sheep. O Dai said that mold can quickly kill horses and sheep but it is not as great a threat to cows and goats.

Hay mold emerged as a problem two weeks ago, said O’Dai, when there was a temperature spike in Umatilla County. This sharp rise triggered mold growth in the still wet hay.

Today, 100 tons of hay are needed to make sure livestock owners don’t lose any hunger. O’Dai explained that this amount would bring cattle owners to May when hay will be more abundant after the first cuttings and farmers and ranchers have had enough time to develop alternative means of obtaining hay.

“We want to support them until then,” said Oai.

People who wish to donate hay or funds can contact Emergency Equipment Solutions via email at emergencyequpmentsolutions@yahoo.com. EES also has accounts at Wells Fargo and Bank of Eastern Oregon, where donations can be made. Those who make donations to the accounts at these banks should specify that they want their donations to help flood the Umatilla county.

EES volunteers are helping livestock owners with fencing problems by trying to save the fencing they lost due to the flood. The new fencing is purchased when the old fencing cannot be recovered.

O’Dai supervised and helped organize the hay pickup on Sunday at Grande. Those who also attended the retreat, in addition to Tsiatsoses, were the husband of Valerie O’Dai, Mick, the husband and wife team of Rick and Laurie Harvey of Milton-Freewater and Doug Stratton of La Grande. Stratton said that in a time when society as a whole is often perceived as selfish, the way people come out of the carpentry shop to help those in need when a tragedy like the flooding of the county of Umatilla.

“Prove our humanity. When needed, people respond, “said Stratton.


“Cyrille, farmer …”, a life for butter

Emmanuel Macron’s long-distance marathon at the Agricultural Show consisted essentially, between the usual falsely relaxed photo poses in the midst of muddy animals, to reassure a sector on edge between ecological conversion, agribashing and waves of suicides. The revelations of Mediapart on the remuneration of senior executives of the FNSEA, with the monthly sum of 13,400 euros gross for the director general Clément Faurax, have probably made faces in the many farms which are struggling today to make ends meet. Rodolphe Marconi’s documentary is far from the showcase of the Show, far from the maneuvers of the various unions and lobbies who are busy further promoting agriculture and intensive livestock farming to the detriment of everything else and without too much concern for the impact in particularly on water resources. For four months, this filmmaker, former resident of Villa Medicis, author of fictions (This is my body in 2001 with Louis Garrel) and other docuses (Lagerfeld confidential) installed his camera on a family farm in Auvergne, a dairy farm taken over by one of the three sons, Cyrille, who has been trying to run the store for five years. We can understand by his example the horrible fate that lashes out at the most idealists when they want to do well and that no one helps or thanks them for this effort. This is a new picture of the degradation of the very idea of ​​work even when we have been fed our heads with it through debates, editorials and political TV platforms since it is the least evaluated value, the least held in respect, even if the obsessive mantra which guides the steps of liberalism is that it is necessary to work more and longer.


It’s always good to go down from principles to examples, and this one is rare. Cyrille, 30 years old therefore, works every day, including Sundays and holidays, from 6 am to midnight and sometimes beyond, without managing to pay himself a salary. He lives with his father, he had to build a building to standards for his operation and went into debt to the tune of 200,000 euros. He had thirty cows, but eight died from illness. With global warming helping, the region suffered two drought summers and the meadows gave less grass, therefore less hay, therefore less food for its good animals, therefore less milk. To compensate, you have to buy food and try to produce more because at too low a level of liters of milk, the cooperative no longer moves. Cyrille can no longer sell his milk, he can transform it into artisanal butter which he sells for 3 euros a plate on the village market. The more he works, the more he ruins himself. The debt spiral always takes it lower in the appreciation of an existence that counts for nothing: “I’m alone working like an idiot.” In France, statistically, a farm is only viable with an average of 60 cows per farmer.

Dead end

We gradually understand that the film is also the chronicle of mourning and unexpressed depression. The loss of his mother leaves Cyril distraught, without advice, without support, facing the silent father and who only speaks to him in reproach. It turns out that Cyrille is gay elsewhere and in a remote corner where Tinder does not have the shadow of a guy to offer him tens of kilometers from his home. We see concretely the impasse in which he finds himself and which pushes him to inexorably join the battalion of rural people who must reconvert into other professional sectors, accentuating the desherence of certain regions and a degraded relationship to a landscape including this distant cousin cowboy boys intended to maintain the poetic heritage, crossed at the best days by the light of Corot’s canvases.

Didier Péron

Cyrille, farmer, 30 years old, 20 cows, milk, butter, debts of Rodolphe Marconi (1 h 25).