Severe spring weather is currently threatening prime agricultural land in Missouri, as the rain swollen Mississippi River appears likely to overspill its banks. The heavy rains of the past few weeks have led to severe flooding throughout the Midwest, hitting Missouri particularly hard. The Missouri River has already reached flood stage and several towns in Missouri have been flooded and countless residents left homeless.
Particularly problematic is the threat to Cairo, Illinois and farmland in Southeastern Missouri. Threatened by the rising Mississippi River, the Army Corps of Engineers revealed a plan to breach several levees in Missouri, in order to protect Cairo. The rapidness of both the flooding and the Corps’ decision threatens many farmers in Missouri, who have farm equipment on fields that could be flooded in the next few days. Also threatened is prime Missouri farmland, some of the best in the state, which would be deliberately flooded in order to control the Mississippi River’s flooding.
Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill urged the Corps to reconsider, stating, “We may do additional significant harm to the agricultural economy of the region that will last well after the flood waters recede.” Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster sued in federal court, hoping to block the Corps of Engineers from blowing the levees, but a ruling Friday morning allowed for the planned breach.
Engineers are currently watching the situation and stress that the decision is not arbitrary or capricious.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer