Trent Loos

The 2019 Nebraska State Fair has come and gone. In the end, it was a tremendous week but it was filled with plenty of anxiety courtesy of Mother Nature. The exhibitors appeared to enjoy the fair as much as any of the 149 that came before this one.

If you were to average the weather from start to finish, I am willing to bet it was the most comfortable fair anyone has ever attended but many people opted to stay home because social media posts from early in the week showed vendors underwater and people scurrying to get out of the rain.

Jeff Leo floating in a kayak through the midway on a Monday morning undoubtedly planted a seed that everything was under water. In today’s world where everyone has the opportunity to be a reporter, it is easy to garner the wrong impression of many situations. While the first half of the fair had serious rain and mud challenges in regard to parking, those obstacles were quickly circumvented and things were returned to fairly normal conditions. Although for those who did not come to see the fair personally, they likely have the wrong idea in their head.

I think the very same thing is currently happening with Mother Nature globally. No one, particularly a person living in Nebraska in 2019, believes that the weather has been anything close to normal. It finally dawned on me, as we passed the 18 inch mark for rainfall in a 12-day period in August, that we do live on top of the largest underground lake in the world. At some point, despite what naysayers proclaim, that thing is going to recharge itself. It got there in some fashion and, given enough time, it will remain the source of a life-sustaining nutrient.

During the fair I learned that just north of me near Bartlett, a new river was formed in 2019 by cutting through the Sandhills and winding through that area for 10 miles before eventually connecting with the Cedar River. The new river will soon be formally named. While I have not enjoyed the weather in 2019 one bit, I fully believe it is Mother Nature just doing what she does.

As political pontificators attempt to cast a shadow of doubt on the Trump administration regarding climate change, I thought a quick search of a mad Mother Nature might be relevant.

The History Channel has a list of the top 10 most devastating events from Mother Nature.

In 1900, Galveston was the gem of Texas, its biggest port city, home to millionaire mansions and some of the nation’s first electric streetlights. According to National Public Radio, The Great Galveston Storm came ashore the night of Sept 8, with an estimated strength of a Category 4. Texas’ most advanced city was nearly destroyed. An estimated 6,000 to 12,000 people perished in the storm, the single deadliest in U.S. history.

For nearly a minute, in 1906, San Francisco, California, was rocked by a 7.9-magnitude earthquake that ripped a 296-mile fissure along the San Andreas fault.

In 1889, the catastrophic Johnstown, Pennsylvania, flood destroyed 1,600 homes and killed 2,209 people, including 99 entire families, in a matter of minutes, according to the Johnstown Flood Museum website. 

Can you image if social media existed in the era of those top three most devastating storms? No doubt the end of the world would be predicted, yet here we are, 100 years later, still dealing with big storms and trying to stop them with misguided policy.

As an announcer at the 150th Nebraska State Fair, I tried to remind folks how lucky we really are. Back in the early days of the celebration, it was held in tents set up on dirt paths, yet people were just glad to be there and participate. How lucky were we to have concrete, solid roofs and busses? Let’s keep everything in perspective. Thanks to modern technology, even in what seems to be the worst of times, we find a way to get things back to normal—Mother Nature’s normal, maybe not ours.

Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.LoosTales.com, or email Trent at trentloos@gmail.com.

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