Farmers devastated by floodwaters in the Western Corn Belt will likely need government aid. Still, current safety net programs won’t be enough to cover the catastrophic damage, according to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. He says their best hope is to pass a disaster aid bill floating around Capitol Hill.
"We hopefully will have a supplemental disaster bill out of Congress very soon," Perdue said. "This may be included in that as well."
The Senate is expected to vote next week on a $13.6 billion disaster relief spending bill, S 572, to help states recover from devastating storms and wildfires in 2018, according to Pro Farmer’s Jim Wiesemeyer. The House has already passed its $14.2 billion version, HR 268.
Early estimates from the Nebraska Department of Agriculture peg the damage in the “hundreds of millions of dollars.”
“It’s approaching a billion dollars of impact straight to agriculture," Nebraska Agriculture Director Steve Wellman said Tuesday.
Earlier this week Craig Head of the Nebraska Farm Bureau said damage from the “bomb cyclone” could top $400 million in livestock losses and another $440 million for crop growers. Those numbers don’t account for property damage including roads, bridges, barns and fences.
In Iowa, the destruction is just as shocking. Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds told the Des Moines Register that she’s seeking federal aid as soon as possible. According to Perdue, many silos storing soybeans in Iowa were damaged by the rising waters.
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