Record flooding has destroyed the Midwest farming industry, with no US disaster aid for "damaged" crops

Sudden floods in the region forced farmers to evacuate with their families, leaving behind their precious livestock and last year's harvest behind.


                            Record flooding has destroyed the Midwest farming industry, with no US disaster aid for "damaged" crops

Farmers in Midwestern United States have been left devastated after record flooding engulfed a wide swathe of the Farm Belt across states like Nebraska, Iowa and South Dakota. With the sudden floods in the region, the farmers had little time to save themselves and their families, and were compelled to leave their precious livestock and last year's harvest behind, which is all submerged in floodwaters now.

A bomb cyclone dropped heavy rain and snow in the region last week, causing previous snow and ice to melt, resulting in a dramatic rise in floodwaters. Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts called this the "most widespread disaster we have had in our state's history."

A boat passes by grain bins which are surrounded by floodwater on March 21, 2019 in Craig, Missouri. The town of Craig is completely surrounded by floodwater. (Getty Images)

 

Latest reports of the estimation of damages of crops and livestock are approaching $1 billion in Nebraska alone. Nebraska Department of Agriculture spokesperson Christin Kamm said that officials expect their initial farm damage estimates — $400 million in damages to crops, and $400 million in lost livestock — will be exceeded.

The extent of the damage is unprecedented considering the farmers were storing enormous amounts of corn and soybeans in bins, plastic tubes, and barns, waiting to ride out the ongoing US-China trade war. 

The farmers were still attempting to recuperate from the 2011 floods when the recent floods hit them.  As they witness thousands of dollars being swept away in the floods, they have been struck with another devastating news quashing their hopes of reconstructing a flourishing farming industry — the US disaster aid doesn't cover crops lost in floods. 

Floodwater surrounds the town on March 22, 2019 in Craig, Missouri. Midwest states are battling some of the worst flooding they have experienced in decades as rain and snow melt from the recent 'bomb cyclone' has inundated rivers and streams. At least three deaths have been linked to the flooding. (Getty Images)

 

According to the federal policy, the grains damaged from flooded river water has to be destroyed, and the US government can not do anything about the millions of damaged crops under current laws or disaster-aid programs, according to Reuters.

The United States Department of Agriculture, last year, provided $12 billion in aid to farmers who suffered losses because of the trade-war, however, there is no program currently which covers crop losses from widespread flooding. Most of the crops damaged in the waters are reportedly uninsured. 

With most of their crops devastated and the land still filled with water, the farmers have little hope of farming on the lands anytime soon, with some saying that it's over for them considering staying in business will be a humungous struggle. 

Floodwater covers a famer's field on March 23, 2019 near Plattsmouth, Nebraska. Damage estimates from flooding in Nebraska top $1 billion. (Getty Images)

 

Gov. Kim Reynolds, in Iowa, did an aerial inspection of the flooded farms and said that she could only see the tips of grain bins sticking out of what appeared like an ocean.

The farming industry in the region appears to be in ruins and the spring flood outlook does not look good for areas already devastated by flooding in the Midwest and down the Mississippi River. According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the flooding could continue through May.

Corn burst from a grain bin which was soaked with floodwater on March 23, 2019 near Union, Nebraska. Damage estimates from flooding in Nebraska top $1 billion. (Getty Images)

 

Director of NOAA's National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Ed Clark, said: "This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season, with more than 200 million people at risk for flooding in their communities."

"This is shaping up OAA's outlook calls for nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states to face an elevated risk of flooding through May, with the potential for major to moderate flooding in 25 states across the Great Plains, Midwest and down through the Mississippi River valley," NOAA added.