A Florida dairy farm lost 360 cows in Hurricane Ian. Can the damaged business survive?

James A. Jones Jr., Miami Herald on

Published in Weather News

Hurricane Ian inflicted more punishment on Dakin Dairy Farms than any other storm in history. Owner Jerry Dakin estimates the damage at $3 million, plus 360 cows lost during the storm.

Four months after Ian, the hurricane’s calling cards can be seen on every acre with piles of twisted metal and missing roofs on cattle barns.

Jerry Dakin seems resolute that Dakin Dairy Farms, in Myakka City, Florida, will survive and recover — even though there is sadness at all that has been lost, and uncertainty over the struggle ahead to recover.

“We have everything cleaned up, and we are waiting for the suppliers to get materials in here so that we can start building and work to get labor to put it back together,” he said. “We have never seen total devastation like this.”

The one bright spot in Ian’s aftermath is how the Myakka City community, and beyond, rallied with chain saws, labor and trucks to remove debris.

“Oh, my God, I wish our government could learn something from our community. The people out here are amazing,” Dakin said.


“We are going to keep going as long as we can,” he said “Politicians and developers are making it hard for us to hang onto our land. How long do you survive? I don’t know.”

Aside from the visible damage, there are other costs, such as diminished milk production, calves that weren’t born because of Ian’s violence, and the loss of agri-tourism.

In past years, Dakin Dairy has cultivated its status as a tourist destination, but with so much damage that won’t be possible for a while.

“It wouldn’t be safe,” Dakin said.


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