Nacogdoches County poultry grower has tough decision after tornado damages farm investments

WEBXTRA: Poultry farm in Nacogdoches County hit hard by severe storms

NACOGDOCHES COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Mike Lee’s home is at least 200 yards from his poultry houses that set off of Farm to Market Road 2782 in southwest Nacogdoches County. Friday night he sat on the side of his bed listening to the wind howl and the lightning strikes.

“First time in my life my house felt like it was breathing," described Lee.

He hunkered down until the weather settled. Around two in the morning Lee ventured out to find...

"It blew the roof off that chicken house. Collapsed the other end. Blew the roof all the other chicken houses," said Lee.

Five houses in all, plus a hay barn and a composter. And a ‘few’ chickens he says.

"I put down 105,000 (birds) on my farm and we lost about 20,000. (birds) "

Lee worked alone turning off propane tanks, starting up generators and checking on cattle. By daybreak, Lee was no longer alone.

Family and friends showed up to help with Lee’s priorities.

“Number one, place the birds in one of the remaining, undamaged houses. Two, get the equipment running to feed and warm them,” said Lee.

Mike Lee and his grandson, Logan Howard, worked throughout the weekend cleaning up from the Friday night storm.
Mike Lee and his grandson, Logan Howard, worked throughout the weekend cleaning up from the Friday night storm. (Source: KTRE)

Lee doesn’t really know who all to thank.

“There were 20, 25 people here. Some of them I didn’t even know helping us. I just thank the Lord for that,” Lee said.

It’s a sentiment Lee has shared many times since Friday night.

"It's a bad situation, but God's good and he's good all the time and he took care of us. Nobody hurt, was nobody injured, everything went real well. Main thing is a lot of good people came out to help us."

This faithful man will now make a prayerful decision about a 42-year career. Lee estimates it would take $150,000 to $250,000 to replace ‘each’ poultry house.

“I've been doing this a long time. My wife passed away about 18 months ago. I've been asking the Lord to show me what he wants me to do in the poultry business and I think I got an answer," said Lee in a reflective tone.

Logan Howard, Lee’s 11-year old grandson is behind him no matter what.

"Well, he's been doing it for a long time. Been doing it for a while,” said the youngster as he pulled off his ‘gimme’ cap and scratched his head in thought.

"All your life, huh?” said the encouraging grandfather.

“It’s a lot more to it than growing chickens. It’s a lifestyle,” said Lee.

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