Colorado Flooding Leaving State's Ag Producers Out to Dry

September 19, 2013 05:00 AM
Colorado Flooding Leaving State's Ag Producers Out to Dry

What's being called the state's third-largest ag disaster is suffocating crops and making feed availability uncertain.

It’s being called the state’s third largest agricultural disaster with a price tag of $8.5 million. While damage is still being assessed, crops are suffocating and feed availability is becoming uncertain.

The footage of the aftermath is heartbreaking. Some farmers won’t be able to harvest their crops this fall. According to USDA, only 2% of the state’s corn had been picked so far.

Structural damage is also a concern. Barns and silos crashed in the wake of rushing water. Even pivot irrigation systems were uprooted from so much force.

Watch the full AgDay report:

"This is five times more water than I’ve ever seen," says Ken Seeley, a farmer impacted by the flooding in Colorado.

"We’ve got a lot of sediment in the sheds and the shops," says Ron Kline, a Johnstown, Colo., farmer. "On this little bit of ground here we have sediment, and it just knocked it all down."

On the livestock side, feed could become an issue. Colorado Deputy Ag Commissioner Ron Carleton says most producers were able to move livestock to higher ground. Hay and alfalfa, however, are underwater, meaning tight supplies could drive up prices.

Dairy Today Editor Jim Dickrell says some of the state’s harvested silage was uncovered and vulnerable with the wet weather. So, that could also impact feed availability.

If there’s a silver lining in this it’s drought relief. Prior to the rain, moderate to exceptional drought spread throughout all of eastern Colorado. So, not only did the rains help restore soil moisture, but could also refill reservoirs, many of which are imperative to watering an area that’s historically dry.

If you’d like to donate, Colorado Farm Bureau is making that possible. They say 100% of the funds will go directly to producers dealing with the disaster.

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