Local farmers 'at the mercy of the water;' expecting serious impacts after canal breach

With no irrigation available, crops are going dry in the fields ahead of harvest.

Farmers are a vital part of our local economy and following the Ft. Laramie Canal collapse, Ben and Kerrie Dishman organized a fundraising event to benefit growers impacted by the canal collapse.

“Our farmers are the life and blood of the area and when they hurt, we hurt,” Ben said. “We wanted to reach out and help them.”

Grilling for Growers will take place Thursday evening from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Fresh Foods parking lot in Gering. Dishman encouraged the public to bring their appetites as they enjoy a meal. They will be serving hot dogs and hamburgers, chips and a drink for $5. Ice cream is also available for $1. Dishman added they will serve homemade brauts as another option besides hamburgers and hot dogs. The fundraiser will also feature a raffle. Some of the prizes include Husker tickets, quilt, Fresh Foods gift cards and a party cooler.

Local businesses have joined the effort to sponsor the event, with 23 sponsors, including the Star-Herald, as of Wednesday.

“We’re pretty excited,” he said.

The funds raised will go through the irrigation disaster relief fund and will help the Oregon Trail Foundation provide relief to local farmers.

“We wanted to make sure it went to where it needed to go,” Dishman said.

Dishman said businesses have already raised a couple thousand dollars toward the cause. They hope to have a check cut by the end of the week following the Grilling for Growers. The public can also give tax deductible monetary donations during the fundraiser.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

Lauren Brant is a reporter with the Star-Herald and the Gering Courier. Contact her at 308-632-9043 or by email at lauren.brant@starherald.com.

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