CARBON COUNTY — Billings business owners and state agency heads got a first-hand look at flood damage at farms and ranches in Stillwater and Carbon counties Wednesday, with the goal of encouraging relief efforts.
The Billings Chamber of Commerce put together the ag flood tour to gain insight in how the state's largest city can help.
The first stop on the tour was Danny Dorvall's cattle operation in Fromberg. He was one of many in that area that had his livelihood turned upside down.
“They got to see first-hand what the damage from the flood was,” Dorvall said after giving a tour of his damaged cattle corrals.
“I hope that doing this helps out a lot of people that are probably in dire need of help," Dorvall said.
The next stop on the tour was Skorupa Farms in Bridger, where Chris Skorupa and his family are still picking up the pieces - specifically river rock - that the flood left behind.
Skorupa's home is nearly 800 yards from where the river currently is. During the flooding, the waters came one foot from entering his home.
Skorupa has high hopes for this tour.
“People actually see the damage and the devastating effects that it actually had,” he said.
And people did see the damage first hand.
“The thing we were kind of discussing on the bus is we need to get the word out. Let people know that people are dealing with this. These farmers are ranchers are like the backbone of Montana," said Kellie Berns, with Conditioned Air Systems.
Another stop on the tour was the main irrigation ditch head gate for Bridger and Fromberg growers that was wiped out. The community came together to help temporarily rebuild it. If it is not permanently fixed this fall, many farmers and ranchers fear they will not be able to bounce back from the flooding.
“It’s incredible and really heartbreaking to see these families' devastation," said Berns.