Drying out from devastation: TN recovers from deadly flooding

We are getting a closer look this morning at how the deadly flooding in middle Tennessee is impacting agriculture.

In addition to the 21 people confirmed dead, and those still missing, hundreds of cattle are also unaccounted for.

On the road to Waverly, Tennessee, we saw multiple road closures, countless flipped cars, a wide variety of debris and damage on farms, but recovery efforts were already underway.

Clean up continues in Humphreys County, Tennessee after record rainfall devastated the local community and farmland.

According to the TN Farm Bureau Vice President, Eric Mayberry, “The area in which that rainfall hit was primarily livestock and I’m sure some equine, but several cattle farmers have taken substantial losses. People have lost whole herds of cattle-- many at this point are just missing-- we don’t know where they are, they may be dead, they may be alive. We are finding some in both situations.”

Mayberry says that soybeans are still in the growing phase here, but it is unclear what the damage to crops will be.

“If they were swept down or covered with water, they are going to be pretty substantially impacted, and corn will be, of course, but if the water didn’t get over the ear and swept down then we are hopeful that crop will be a high percentage of normal. But, we really won’t know until we get in there with the combine,” Mayberry states. “This fall will tell us a lot and harvest is right around the corner for some.”

Road closures are also a challenge throughout the area: “If you’ve got animals that are hurting and need veterinary attention or they need to be hauled off, or to the sale barn, you may not be able to get them out or resources in. Thankfully, it’s summer and we had rain and most people still have cattle on grass but there may be people who need feed. I know we ran out Saturday and tried to go get some and couldn’t, so we had to make other arrangements.”

It is still a fluid situation for the Humphreys County Farm Bureau, whose own building saw an inch of water damage, despite being built eleven inches above flood level.

Gov. Bill Lee says that he plans to request a disaster declaration from the federal government, which would then make farmers eligible for USDA’s disaster programs.


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