Hundreds of Florida Dairy Cows Perish in Ian’s Savage Wake

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MYAKKA CITY, Fla.—They hustled the herd from their stalls and into the open fields where the cows would be safer from the storm, a practice honed during a half-century of dairy farming in Florida and in Maine for a century before.

The massive steel-frame, metal-roof barns that housed Dakin Dairy Farm’s nearly 5,000 Holsteins could withstand winds up to 70 miles per hour, Jerry Dakin said, but at “80 to 100, things start to come apart.”

When Hurricane Ian made landfall Sept. 28 as a Category 4 storm packing 155 mile-per-hour winds, first over barrier islands near Fort Myers, and then at 4:35 p.m. in Punta Gorda, just 30 miles south of the dairy, Dakin said, “At some point, you put your trust in God.”

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