Dozens of volunteers flocked to help after a semi carrying nearly 1,500 recently weaned pigs rolled onto its side Thursday morning southeast of Orchard.
According to the Nebraska State Patrol, Christiansen Farms based in Sleepy Eye, Minn., was transporting roughly 1,450 pigs from its Orchard location around 10:30 a.m. Davus Closson of O'Neill was driving the semi, which had just turned south onto 816th Road (about 4 miles south of Central Valley Ag).
The State Patrol said Antelope County employee Monte Shabram of Orchard was maintaining the road when Closson veered left of center. The semi sank off the road and tipped into the west ditch, landing onto its side. Closson was transported with non-life threatening injuries to Avera St. Anthony's Hospital in O'Neill by Orchard Rescue.
Amber Portner, communications manager for Christiansen Farms, said the recently weaned pigs on the semi were 21 days old and weighed about 15 pounds. She said the pigs were being transferred to a finishing farm and less than 100 perished in the accident.
Members of the Orchard Fire Department, along with dozens of volunteers, including many from nearby Central Valley Ag, worked for about 2 hours to transfer the live pigs from the trailer to another truck.
"To get this kind of support from the community is wonderful," Portner said. "It's really endearing to work with people in communities like this who are willing to help in situations."
Antelope County Sheriff Bob Moore said while he was proud of the way the Orchard community flocked to help, he wasn't surprised by the effort.
"That's the unique thing of living in a small rural Nebraska that everybody knows everybody. When somebody is in crisis or trouble . . . they always can count on neighbors," Moore said. "And local businesses. CVA rolled their employees up here to help."
After the pigs were transferred, Christiansen Farms representatives on site personally thanked all of the volunteers for assisting with the pigs.
"We certainly want to recognize and thank those who helped us in our time of need," she said. "We work hard to foster good relationships with communities, and we are grateful for them."