One farmer in Sidney, Iowa, Dustin Sheldon, is feeling the damage caused by the flooding in the Midwest this spring. He estimates his family farm has lost about $1 million in damages from the floods. Sheldon says that in his county alone, there is roughly $7 million worth of grain stuck in grain bins that has either already been lost or is inaccessible. He also says that many farmers probably will not be able to bounce back from these catastrophic losses. Ranchers in the region also lost thousands of head of cattle, pigs, and other livestock.
The pain from this flooding is felt primarily among Midwest farmers who depend on crops and ranchers who depend on livestock for their income. It may also be felt in the grain and livestock industry, as this region produces much of the products that feed our country.
Right now, farmers should be fertilizing their fields for the upcoming harvest. Instead, they are stuck waiting for flood waters to recede, so they can assess the damages on their land. Even if farmers are able to get a crop in the ground (which isn’t likely), the 2019 crop is looking pretty discouraging, Sheldon says.
Nebraska governor Pete Ricketts has said his state has sustained about $1.4 billion in damages to crops, land, and livestock. Iowa governor Kim Reynolds has estimated $1.6 billion in damages in her state. Most farmers have contingency plans, meaning they have insurance on crops on the ground, but will not receive aid for the stored crops and/or livestock lost to the devastating floods.
Sheldon also speculates that it could be two years before farmers make an income again because the levy system has been completely destroyed. Rebuilding roads and repairing infrastructure could take nearly two years to complete, core engineers say.
Creighton University economics professor Ernie Goss presumes that consumers nationwide and maybe even internationally will also feel the impact from the flooding. Goss recently performed a study that showed 22% of supply managers are experiencing negative impacts from recent floods.
Sheldon and other farmers are hoping for a bill in Congress to be passed to help with relief efforts in Nebraska and Iowa. Without support from the government, the chances of farmers being able to get back on their feet are even smaller. The most recent attempt at this was struck down in the Senate.
“When we have a disaster somewhere else, it seems like money comes immediately for disaster aid. Now, there are people who are paying their mortgages with 10 feet of water inside their houses while living somewhere else,” Sheldon says.
This article is important in the agriculture industry because it informs people about how bad the damage in the Midwest really is, and it has actual estimations of losses on the economic side of things. It also warns the public that these losses aren’t just going to be felt by farmers, but by consumers as well. It gives accurate information without presenting an obvious bias. The floods in Nebraska and Iowa will have an impact on farmers everywhere, and they will affect crop and livestock prices as well.
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