Midwest Flood Relief
March 25, 2019
Farmers and ranchers across America's heartland continue to tally their losses as the recovery and cleanup efforts continue in the wake of historic flooding associated with this month's "bomb cyclone.”
With much midwest cropland still underwater 10 days after the flooding started, the ability of these farmers and ranchers to make a living – and to feed the nation and the world – has been severely impacted. Livestock losses and damage to land, houses, barns, equipment, and other property, is catastrophic in many cases. Planting is already delayed, and, in some areas, cancelled completely for this season.
In the immediate aftermath of the flooding, affected producers and other eyewitness painted a desperate scene.
Bill Lechtenberg, with the Nebraska Farm Bureau described conditions in his area thus: “One neighbor up to the west of me six miles – his calving pasture was under five feet of water as of yesterday. He got all the cows up to high ground, except for two calves, before they got swept away.” He reports that floodwaters have reached five to six feet above the worst flood levels that he had ever seen previously.
Elsewhere in Nebraska, fifth generation cattle rancher Karina Jones had not only her herd to be concerned about, but her own children were stranded with relatives for several days due to floodwaters. “Today, I know the sun is shining on much of American,“ she said, speaking just a day or two after the “bomb cyclone” had moved through, “But, for those of us that are in Nebraska . . . we find more calves melting from underneath the snow that didn't make it through the storm. Cattle are weakened after these days of cold precipitation and hurricane force winds.” Underscoring the gravity of the situation, she issued “a call to action for our government and the powers that be not to forget about us. We are going to need assistance; we are going to need help to get through this. Many cattle ranchers and farmers were already in financial peril before this storm, as working capital has been depleted the last few years, and this storm, this devastation, is going to put some operations under.”
Watch the videos above to get a more complete picture of the impact this historic storm is having on ag producers in the nation's heartland.
For those who want to help, please contact one of the following relief organizations
- Farm Rescue is offering hay hauling assistance to ranchers.
- Nebraska Cattlemen Disaster Relief Fund has established a new disaster relief fund to assist affected cattle producers.
- Nebraska Department of Agriculture has compiled a list of state and federal resources available to farmers.
- Nebraska Farm Bureau has established a disaster relief fund for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.
- Nebraska Farm Service Agency provides links to state and county resources.
- Nebraska Emergency Management Agency has more information about flood preparedness and safety.
- Nebraska Rural Response Hotline can connect farmers and ranchers with mental health professionals and legal advice - 1-800-464-0258
- Nebraska Strong has opportunities to request and provide relief.
- Iowa State University Extension provides a number of free resources for farm stress management.
- Iowa Concern Hotline offers free assistance 24/7 for stress, crisis, legal education, and financial concerns - 800-447-1985
- Iowa Department of Natural Resources provides expertise, resources and assistance during natural disasters.
- Hay Net and Grazing Net helps connect farmers who either need hay or have hay available, or need grain land or have grazing land available.
- Iowa.Gov details guidelines and resources for disaster assistance resources offered by the state.
- Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship provides a number of programs and resources to assist farmers affected by natural disasters.
- Missouri Agriculture Flood Resources provides additional information about USDA programs that offer assistance to farmers and ranchers.
- Missouri Farm Bureau has established a disaster relief fund for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities.
- Recovery.MO.gov is a database of statewide emergency resources.
- MU Extension provides information about flood preparedness and response.
- The Wisconsin Farm Center provides information and support to farmers and their families. Their toll-free hotline is 1-800-942-2474
- Harvest of Hope provides financial assistance to Wisconsin farmers experiencing difficulties due to natural disasters or other crises.
- UW Extension provides resources to plan for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters.
- The Small Business Administration's Drought Disaster Assistance helps provide disaster loans to small, nonfarm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and some private non-profits affected by drought.
- The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection provides resources on flood preparedness and recovery.
- ReadyWisconsin offers educational resources on emergency preparedness and response.
- Minnesota Department of Agriculture offers a disaster recovery loan program.
- University of Minnesota Extension advises how to safely handle damaged agricultural buildings.
- Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline is free, confidential, and available 24/7. 833-600-2670.
- Ted Matthews is a rural mental health counselor who works with farmers across the state at no cost to them. 320-266-2390.
- Mobile Crisis Team responds quickly and provide in-person, short-term counseling or mental health services during a crisis or emergency.
- Crisis Text Line offers immediate free and confidential support for people in distress. Text MN to 741741.
- Minnesota Department of Public Safety has compiled disaster assistance resources for farmers.