Echo Chicken House Damage

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A lot of the debris from the March 1st tornado has been picked up in Dale County. But that work doesn't make up for the money lost in Echo's largest cash crop.

People in Echo joke that it's the ‘Chicken Capitol’, with about half as many chicken houses as there are homes in the community, but more than a tenth of those houses were totally destroyed from the tornado, forcing some farmers to start from scratch.

Hughes was the first farmer in Echo to buy chicken houses. That was 20 years ago, and today, he has to reinvest. That's because all of his four broiler houses were completely destroyed from the recent tornado.

"I felt terrible because this was our way of life and I really enjoyed what I was doing. I was satisfied right where I was and everything was going great for me. Now, we are just going to have to just start over," says Hughes.

In his business, Hughes and his wife raised about 68,000 chickens at one time.

They say the costs from those chickens inside the house at the time of the storm will eventually come from their pockets, which is on top of the $600,000 dollars worth of damage just to the houses.

While the houses had maximum insurance, it only pays for 90 days loss of income.

Owners say it will take at least a year to rebuild.

"Most of your builders are tied up already building houses. So, it's going to be hard to get somebody in here to build right away," says Hughes.

Fortunately, Hughes says he was able to salvage some of his equipment from the storm. Therefore, when he does rebuild, that's some money he won't have to spend.

Right now, the price Hughes will pay for his chickens have yet been determined, since they haven't been long hatched.

Hughes says not much government help will come to Echo farmers to make up for the loss for those with insurance.

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