By Brooke Foster
Brooks Cattle Farm in Montgomery County received an unexpected, middle-of-the-night wake-up call Nov. 30.
The cause? An EF-2 tornado.
A 40-foot-by-70-foot equipment barn was destroyed; the roof system of a shop gone; two cattle catch pens severely damaged; and nearly 7,000 linear feet of fencing impacted. Additionally, over 50 acres of timberland at the farm were damaged, according to the Alabama Forestry Commission.
“We are going to take things in phases from this point forward and assess what can be fixed and what will need to be permanently replaced in time,” said farmer Hassey Brooks.
Alabama’s peak tornado season runs March-May annually, with another uptick in late fall. But the state suffered another streak of storms in January, which claimed at least six lives.
The Brooks family was still recovering from the storm that hit their farm two months prior and praised Alfa Insurance’s quick response, providing peace of mind in the wake of chaos.
“Within hours of the tornado tearing through our property, our claims adjusters were here assessing the damage,” Hassey said. “By lunchtime, the claim was placed. It was a sigh of relief and layer of stress removed from my parents’ shoulders knowing Alfa was right there to help our family get back on our feet as quickly as possible.”
Managed by Bob Brooks and his sons, Hassey and Russ, Brooks Cattle Farm has graced the landscape of north Montgomery County for four generations. Like any farm, they’ve added to and improved over the years. The strong-but-swift storm, however, scattered decades of hard work across the community.
“Two rental properties just up the road from the farm were a total loss, but thankfully, those tenants were not hurt in the storm,” Hassey said, noting his family’s homes were spared from the damage.
Nearby Flatwood residents weren’t as fortunate, with the storm claiming two lives and destroying homes and the Flatwood Community Center.
Hassey, who’s also a deputy commissioner with the Alabama Department of Agriculture & Industries, expressed appreciation to everyone who reached out to help since the storm.
“My family wouldn’t be standing where they are today if not for the outpouring of support from family and friends — including our friends at Alfa Insurance and the Alabama Farmers Federation,” he said. “We’re blessed beyond measure and thankful that no one in our family was injured.”
Bob echoed his son.
“I can’t thank the Alfa team enough,” Bob said. “To see them out here working side by side with us, that humbles you. The agent and claims adjuster were very experienced and told us exactly what we needed to do and what procedures to follow.”
The morning after the storm ripped through the Brooks’ farm, Hassey prayed for peace over his parents. As he ended his prayer, he received a text message from his agent, which read, “Lord, cover Bob and Dianne Brooks with your peace and blessed assurance. Amen.”
In that moment, Hassey’s belief that Alfa was the right company for his family was affirmed.
“With Alfa, you’re not only getting a good group of people. You’re getting a group of people who care about you as individuals,” he said. “That makes all the difference.”