Rehoboth Ranch in Greenville Severely Damaged by Tornado

Rehoboth Ranch which features grass-fed beef and lamb raised on pristine pastures without synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides poultry fed non-GMO grains, was hit by a tornado late yesterday afternoon.

hutchins_familyI just got off the phone with Elizabeth Hutchins, daughter of Robert and Nancy Hutchins who own and operate Rehoboth Ranch in Greenville. The ranch which features grass-fed beef and lamb raised on pristine pastures without synthetic fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides and poultry fed only with non-GMO grains, was hit by a tornado late yesterday afternoon.

There was extensive roof damage to the family home, but all of the barns, except the dairy barn, are gone. The cows, pigs, and goats are fine, but the laying hens were killed.

The original home is made with cinder block and that is where the whole family and 3 friends hunkered down during the tornado. “There was so much wind and rain we never really heard the train sound you are supposed to hear,” Hutchins says. “We never saw it. It was just getting dark.”

Thankfully the freezers are fine and their good neighbor, Windy Meadows, is storing food for them. “We have to get our stuff to farmers market this weekend. We are working on getting that done right now. Thankfully, our trucks and freight trailers are alright.”

Today the pastures are filled with friends, family, and chainsaws working to clear the damage. I asked if they needed any help and Hutchins said, “Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers.” Check their Facebook page for updates.



  • kindallas

    Such goodness your family brings to the world. You have my thoughts and Prayers and good wishes. Prayers for all those in your community as well.

  • boshart

    You can help! Their family set up a GoFundMe account. (You can also find it on their Facebook page.)

  • drj

    Thank you, Nancy, for such a beautiful photograph of this family in your story. I am so very sorry for their losses. I have my own sense of what their loss means to them because my niece and her husband in Missouri, 80 miles north of St. Louis, lost most of their house, their barn, their equipment barn and all of the equipment in it, all of their miniature ponies, their larger horses, their pigs and piglets and hogs, cattle, crops, trees down miles of their lane–everything–to a tornado two years ago that cut a wide swatch down that whole area, leaving several farms destroyed while others barely touch and some untouched.. They barely managed to get all of their family and their beloved dog into the basement and get the basement
    door closed before much of the house came down on them (but not enough to bury the basement doors so they were able to come out alive. As with the Hutchins’ story,, families came from all over their county to help clean up the terrible devastation the tornado left, bring food, offer their free bedrooms, clothes, extra car, anything and everything.

    Most movingly to me, an elderly neighbor in his 80’s, whom we have known all of our lives, brought his backhoe, dug in one of the family pastures, next to a backwater creek that feeds into the might Mississipi nearby, a separate grave for each of the dead animals whom the family loved, put each animal carefully and gently into its grave, climbed down off of his back hoe, and put his arms around the children and the adults of the family and helped them say goodbye and a prayer for each animal by its name and to say whatever they wished about why they loved that little creature, before lifting the dirt to bury that little creature. He and we paused quietly after that burial and then he quietly and lowly moved on to the next one. We all held each other and cried but were deeply comforted by such care for our animals as well as for this extraordinarily kind gentle, insightful elderly neighbor whom we have known all of our live and who has known us all of ours..

    Just a ray of hope to the Hutchins, these brave, resilient family members have rebuilt their house, their barn, their equipment shed, are replacing their equipment with insurance money little by little and have begun building their herds of animals slowly too. I’ve been amazed at their resilience and optimism about doing so, supporting each other and supported so beautifully by the loving, generous farming community around them, where we grew up.

    They and their loving community gave me hope to pass on to the brave Hutchins who have much rebuilding and re-beginning to do. I wish them all of the strength, resilience and good luck and freedom from more tornados and other disasters that they had when they first created Rehoboth Ranch as they work to recreate the perfect beauty and lovely food that they produced there before.

    My heart is with them,

    Judith Samson .

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