Severe flooding can leave crop fields under water, farmers with few options: Your guide to getting through the flood

by Mar 26, 2019Headlines, Local News, Newsmaker

MISSOURI — Recent severe flooding on the Missouri River has left many crop fields underwater.

While there is not much that can be done about the crop fields, farmers do have options with who they can talk to for help.

KMZU’s Dan Watson spoke with Andy Luke, a Field Specialist in Agronomy with the University of Missouri Extension, to find out if there is anything farmers can do to help drain their fields, how long they can expect until the ground is ready for planting and who they can talk with to begin recovering their losses.

Click below to hear their conversation, which aired Tuesday on KMZU.

Luke explains that there is little that farmers can do to help their fields drain.

“Unfortunately there’s not a lot that they can do,” Luke said, “they’re kind of at the mercy of the river levels. So once the river levels start to go down and recede, then the water will naturally go off.”

Depending on how strong the flow of water is, some crop fields may still be usable once the water dries up.

“If it was just water that is backed up onto the field,” Luke explained, “generally there’s not going to be a whole lot of damage on the field.”

For fields that were under flood waters with a strong current, the story is a bit different.

“For some that have seen currents go across the field,” Luke stated, “it is likely that it caused some damage to the field.”

As for the crops themselves, farmers have guidelines that must be followed.

“So it has to be destroyed,” Luke explained, “by the Department of Natural Resources’ standards.”

By state law, any crop that has come in contact with flood water may not be sold.

To help farmers recoup some of their losses, they can talk to their insurance agent to learn more about their options.

“Depending on what coverage they have, there are different options for them to recoup their losses,” Luke said.

Luke also emphasizes that other government agencies such as the local soil and water district as well as the Farm Service Agency office are willing and able to help farmers begin the recovery process.