Thursday, June 26, 2008

Floods, other weather damage cause $8 billion in crop losses, half in Iowa; more floods expected

U.S. crop losses are estimated at $8 billion for weather-related damage, and Iowa accounts for approximately half the losses, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. "There are notable problems in at least a dozen other states ranging from the excessive wetness and flooding in Illinois to drought in California," the AFBF said in a press release.

"Wet weather and flooding create issues, as farmers are unable to plant their crops," Terry Francl, AFBF senior economist, said. Expected Iowa corn yields have been reduced 16 percent for this year, and 1.5 million to 2 million acres of corn and soybeans that Iowa farmers intended to plan this spring will likely remain uncultivated, Francl said. According to the press release, "Other states taking a hit from excessive wetness and flooding are: Illinois, $1.3 billion; Missouri, $900 million; Indiana, $500 million; Nebraska, $500 million; and an additional $1 billion in remaining wet states. Some areas are experiencing the opposite problem. Drought is taking a toll on several western states and a few states in the southeast." Farm Bureau warns that the figures are preliminary estimates that could increase or decrease depending on growing conditions the remainder of the season.

Flooding concerns increased as heavy rains fell overnight Tuesday and Wednesday in some parts of northwest Missouri, Julie Harker writes for Brownfield, an agriculture news service based in Missouri. Many West Quincy, Missouri residents have voluntarily evacuated as the Fabrius River, which flows into the Mississippi River, swells. "Efforts have redoubled to protect levees in the Sny Island and Pleasant Hill drainage districts of Illinois that have not lost any levees yet," Harker writes. "Blake Roderick, head of the Pike and Scott County Farm Bureau offices in Illinois, says a third crest of the Mississippi is coming that will be larger than the previous two." Approximately 600 National Guard members and 100 work camp inmates are helping on the levees. Authorities anticipate the river cresting in the area Thursday and Friday.

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