Farm Belt faces an expensive cleanup after already-costly record flooding

“Farmers and ranchers are very resilient and will try to survive,” he said. “But they might figure out in a year or two that there’s just no way to come back from a loss like this.”

Some of the damage is to corn and soybeans that farmers had in storage this year as they ride out the U.S.-China trade war. One farmer in southwestern Iowa reported having flooded bins and grain valued at about $900,000.

According to Iowa officials, most of the grain exposed to floodwaters this month is not insured.

That said, farmers and ranchers with livestock deaths might be eligible to receive assistance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency. The department also provides loans to help producers recover from flooding.

Iowa’s governor projected the total impact statewide at $1.6 billion, including damage to more than 23,000 structures.

The initial estimate for Iowa’s agriculture-related damages is $214 million, according to Kelly Coppess, a representative for the state’s Department of Agriculture. “We’ll know more after the water recedes and farmers have the opportunity to assess their properties,” she said in an email.

The recent flooding and storms also idled grain processing operations in Nebraska and slowed rail and truck transportation.

Archer Daniels Midland, a major processor of agricultural commodities, said Monday weather impacts would cause negative pretax operation impact to the company of $50 million to $60 million for the first quarter.

On Thursday, crop protection and seed company DowDuPont warned first-quarter results would be negatively affected due to transportation disruptions in the Midwest region that “halted farming operations, limited the ability to deliver products to customers, and delayed pre-season application.”

The Senate this week debated a $13 billion federal aid package that includes money for the Midwest, but one sticking point has been President Donald Trump‘s opposition to more funding for hurricane-battered Puerto Rico.

Earlier this month, the president issued major disaster declarations for severe storms and flooding in Nebraska and Iowa.

Flooding caused extensive damage to infrastructure, including rural roads, bridges and levees. The Army Corps of Engineers this week identified at least 52 breaches of levees on the Missouri, Platte and Elkhorn rivers.

“Areas where we’ve lost levees may not be able to be farmed because we’re going to have repeat floods until those levees are repaired,” said Brad Rippey, a meteorologist with the USDA. He said the crops impacted are predominantly corn and soybeans.

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