The reports of severe flooding in Nebraska are sobering, with farmers losing crops and livestock, fields washed out, topsoil gone with the barns, silos, tractors and homes flooded, sometimes swept away. Losses could reach a billion dollars just in Nebraska from this one storm – but the really bad news is, the worse may be ahead.
The entire west has had a very wet winter with unusually heavy snows and now, lots of spring rain. The ground is saturated in the midwest, and upstream, in Canada and the Dakotas, there’s still snow on the ground, lots of it, measured in feet instead of inches. And the Rocky Mountains are blanketed with snow that will soon be melting, swelling the rivers and flooding the fields below.
It’s a slow moving catastrophe in the making.
Moderate to major flooding is expected. The crest in Fargo North Dakota could match a record sometime in Mid-April. Ice jams are causing problems now in Minnesota. Farmers dealing with wet fuels and bad road conditions. Dozens of barns and outbuildings had roof collapses from the snow load. NOAA – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – said that snowmelt in the eastern part of the Dakotas will cause rivers to crest this week through the middle of April.
As the waters recede, the losses will be laid bare. The livestock – entire herds, dairies, pig farms, chicken coops – much of them will be gone. Fields will need to dry out and be tilled, re-fertilized, restored and replanted – the year is a complete loss for some of the growers. Coming back from a tragedy of this magnitude is very hard.
Our Nebraska growers could use a hand. If you’d like to help, there’s a website that will show you how to do it. They have lists of people that need a load of hay, a place to store a herd, the loan of some equipment – and If you prefer, you can make a cash donation and 100 per cent of it will go to a farmer that needs it. Go to farmrescue.org or give them a call. Their phone number is (701) 252-2017.
I’m Len Wilcox and that’s the Western View from AgNet West and Citrus Industry Magazine. Visit us on the web at www.citrusindustry.net.
About the Author
Len Wilcox is a retired scientist who also ran a newspaper and has written for agricultural publications since the 1980s. He was a regular contributor to California Farmer Magazine. His commentary “The Western View” is a regular feature on Farm City Newsday and AgNet West.