Butler County farmer loses 12 cows to mysterious deaths

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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) -- A Butler County farmer says he found several cattle dead when he went to tend to them on Wednesday, May 3.

Several days later, Steve Ragland found that even more had died.

"I had found three more [dead] in fifteen minutes. I had lost 12 head all total," he explains.

Ragland wasn't sure what was happening, so he had his dead cattle examined.

"We have just got the lab report back," he says, "and they had found nitrate in them. [That's] toxic."

Ragland knows farming comes with inherent risks, but it always hurts when something like this hits.

"When you farm, you're going to have some losses. You're going to have some bad luck," he says, "but I didn't want so much at one time. It's my main source of income."

"I figure somewhere around a $20,000 dollar hit," he continues.

Ragland says he found all twelve cows within a 150-yard radius. He's worried about the livestock that he still has.

They've been re-penned, but he now has to get rid of some of the calves that still relied heavily on the cattle that passed away.

"I wouldn't have sold these calves until next year," he says, "but they don't have mamas."

Without their mothers, these calves may not grow to full strength if he keeps them. Ragland also went to the Environmental Protection Agency to have them check out the air and soil.

"I'm going to have to get all my results back, and see what I can do," he says, "I will just re-group and start over again."

Ragland says the air is fine and is still waiting to hear back about the ground.

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