Polk County’s last dairy farm damaged by tornado

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A Kathleen-area dairy farmer says an EF-2 tornado may be the last straw. He thinks it may be time to leave dairy behind.

Mike Carey, the owner of HC Dairy Inc., says he is Polk County’s last remaining dairy farmer.

He’s been hit hard by several storms and a changing industry.

Carey hasn’t been able to break even since 2014, he said.

“I don’t think we’ll stay in the dairy business at all. The dairy business hasn’t been good without the storm,” he said.

An EF-2 tornado swept through his property Friday night. It damaged several buildings, injured cows and cut power for days.

Debris had to be removed to make way for cows to get to the milking parlor.

“You always say ‘why me?’” he said.

His farm, which milks 150 cows, sustained damage from Hurricanes Charley and Irma too.

“When the hurricane was supposed to, I think Dorian, was supposed to hit here, I thought ‘man, thank God I didn’t get hit by that.’ I felt relieved, thought we were out of the woods. Then we got hit by this,” he said.

Carey’s building insurance expired Sept. 21. He expects to sell the farm in the next year.

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