ST. JOSEPH, Mo. — Now that the flood waters are starting to recede in many areas along the Missouri River, leaders in the farming community are starting to assess the damage and figure out how to prevent it from happening again.
It’s too early to get a firm grasp on how much damage was done by the historic floods, in part because they are still continuing to move eastward through the state.
The Missouri Farmer Bureau estimates losses will top a quarter of a billion dollars for agriculture alone. That doesn’t include repairing the levies breached by the floods and the roads.
Money was added by the U.S. Senate to the Federal Disaster Aid package Tuesday that should help Midwest farmers, many of which lost last year’s crop still in flooded bins and this year’s fields.
Now, they’re turning their attention to trying to prevent future floods.
“Right now Fish and Wildlife has a stranglehold over the Corp of Army Engineers and what they can do, and we need to get that changed,” said Jeffrey Gaskill, a Buchanan County farmer who lost 400 acres to the flood.
“There are competing interest up and down the river, but we’ve got to emphasize I think that flood protection of lives and property has to be the most important,” Missouri Farm Bureau President Blake Hurst said.
The Under Secretary of the USDA, Bill Northey, will be in Northwest Missouri on Thursday to get a first hand look at the flooding and damaged levies. He oversees the federal government agencies responsible for assisting farmers in what could be a long recovery process.