Flooding Far From Over In Fremont County, Iowa

April 30, 2019 08:45 AM

Some producers have had a few open days to plant, while others have fields underwater. We head to Fremont County, Iowa, one of the hardest hitting counties during the recent flooding in March.

Sandbags remain on the streets of Hamburg, Iowa. Debris scattered across the tracks.

“Usually [the water] it comes in and goes out,” says Fremont County, Iowa farmer, Jeff Jorgenson. “But this one, it just won’t stop.” Flooding is still an issue miles away from the Missouri River. “This is the field entrance,” says Jorgenson.

“This [water] has been flowing since March 15.” As some towns recover from the water, Hamburg remains a farming community in shock.

“As far as all of this is concerned, I don’t even know where to start,” says Hamburg, Iowa farmer, Michael Stenzel. Many farmers like Michael Stenzel are in limbo as acres stay submerged as they deal with busted bins throughout the county.

“This year we would have planted 4,200 acres and 3,200 of them are still underwater,” says Stenzel. “The damage is done,” says Stenzel. “Now, we got to pick up. We got to pick up, clean up. We have to move on.”

Stenzel losing more than half of last year’s harvest. Economists say the total loss from the flood in Iowa is hard to calculate.

“We got a lot of estimates that have been made based on how many bushels of storage we think are out there,” says Iowa Farm Bureau Federation Economist, Sam Funk. “You don’t know what’s in each one of those bins and you don’t know how full those bins were.”

“The conversation of busted bins is even occurring in Washington D.C. Lawmakers have yet to agree on a disaster aid package. It’s one farmers hope will include coverage for the busted bins,” said AgDay National Reporter Betsy Jibben.

“It was made clear to me that legislative language would be in the final bill that would update in what would be authorized to handle that bin destruction,” says Farm Journal Policy Analyst, Jim Wiesemeyer.

Farmers like Stenzel say they don’t just want, but need. ‘Let’s just say if I got disaster aid, I would be very, very appreciative,” said Stenzel. “This could mean the difference between if the Stenzel farming operation continues.”

“There’s going to be a lot of challenges for some of those farmers,” said Funk. “For some of them, it will be a difficult decision for do I go back and farm again?”

As woes of water linger with farmers in the area, they realize the loss.

“Water is still coming in from the breach, going South down along I-29,” said Johnson. “We are still sitting here without being able to pay three-quarters of our operating loans from last year,” said Stenzel.

Those like Stenzel are moving towards the future, but never forgetting the flood of 2019.

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Spell Check

Kim Ashlock
Hamburg , IA
4/30/2019 04:53 PM

  Feel free to use our story. We are happy to discuss our unfortunate situation. https://youtu.be/3NbEelqRiWk We want to see the Corp take responsibility for their mismanagement and negligence of river system. 111

Malvern, IA
5/6/2019 07:57 PM

  Kim, you're right, but it doesn't stop with the Corps. They were required to make changes to their operating manual back in 2004 by Congress, due to "environmental concerns" over a fish and a type of bird. Also, the Governor of Montana at the time was concerned about enough recreational water levels in the upper Missouri watershed. The Corps has not coordinated with NOAA for above average winter precipitation years (like La Nina years), wherein the levels must be more aggressively managed during the winter months, according to the amount of precipitation received. But, it starts with Congress (I know - you're shocked).


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