‘I give up’: Farmers hit hard as Missouri River continues to rise in northwest Missouri

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CRAIG, Mo. — Rushing flood water has forced farmers off their land as they wait for the Missouri River to crest in Northwest Missouri.

The river has over-topped several levees along the river, including in Holt County where there’s 6-7 feet of water in some homes.

In Craig, just 45 minutes north of St. Joseph, the population is no more than 300 people. But the community has rallied together to build a makeshift levee to protect homes within city limits.

But for farmers with hundreds of acres outside those city limits, it’s too late.

“I’m broken this time. I’m just at the point — I give up,” Howard Geib said.

The 54-year-old has lived through several floods dating back as far as 1984, but he said he’s never seen the Missouri River this high in his backyard.

“It’s a good 4 feet higher here than it was in 2011,” he said.

Geib farms about 400 acres of corn and beans just outside of Craig. On Friday, he was clearing out his grain bins when a levee broke and his land was overtaken by water.

“This one came in faster than ever before,” he said.

The Northwest Missouri farmer was able to salvage all but about $8,000 worth of corn before he had to get out.

The big concern now, though, is next season’s crop.

“I won’t be able to farm it this year. There will be no farming out here this year,” he said.

Geib estimates he’ll lose $40,000-50,000 because of the flood damage to his land.

“We were told all winter long there wasn’t going to be any trouble with flooding by the Corps, but it happened again,” said Tom Bullock, the Holt County emergency manager.

Bullock said many homes across the county have 6-7 feet of water inside them. That’s not yet the case in the actual town of Craig where they began digging up makeshift levees and laying down sandbags on Saturday.

“Don’t get me wrong. We’re nervous,” Charmaine Flint said.

Her home sits up along one of those temporary levees in Craig.

“We’ve actually got all of our computer stuff in the attic. We take everything off the floor and put it on top of the tables,” she said.

She’s taking precautions in case the water continues to move closer to town.

For Geib and other farmers in the area, it’s a waiting game. He fears the release of snow melt this summer will only make matters worse.

“This ain’t the last time you’ll be up here,” he told FOX4.

Bullock said there are residents in flooded areas who have decided to stay, but he said the county is prepared to get them out if they call for help.

The Missouri River in this part of the state isn’t expected to crest until later this week.

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