Farmers Preparing for Spring Downpours

Farmers in Missouri and those living along the Mississippi River are hurrying to rebuild damaged land and repair damaged levees before the start of the spring planting season.

Last year, farmers along the Mississippi River experienced some of the heaviest rains in recent years. For more than 100 days, heavy rains and melting snow swelled rivers, leading to heavy flooding. In addition to heavy spring rains, the Army Corps of Engineers, in an effort to redirect floodwaters from urban centers, released water from reservoirs and destroyed levees in southeastern Missouri.

The flood caused considerable damage to some of Missouri’s best farmland. In some places raging rivers carved deep gorges, some up to 50 feet deep, created sand drifts in the middle of fields, and littered the region with debris.

Many Missouri farmers are only just recovering from the worst of the floods. Many others, however, will have to temporarily abandon damaged land, focusing on maximizing harvests where they can. According to the Missouri director of the Farm Service Agency, farmers may have to give up between 10 to 25 percent of flooded land this planting season.

In addition to planting fears, many farmers are worried about the prospects of further flooding. With levees still damaged and with drainage ditches in many parts of the state still in ruins, another heavy rain could lead to more floods and could do further damage to farmers across Missouri.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer