After a season of rough weather last year, culminating in a series of devastating floods along the Mississippi River, Missouri farmers are worried that U.S. Department of Agriculture repairs of drainage and floodway ditches may not be done in time to protect them from another rough spring.
Last year’s flooding along the Mississippi River was devastating to farmers, particularly to farmers in Southeastern Missouri’s rich agricultural region. Due to heavy rain and a major threat to urban centers in Illinois and Missouri, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was forced to breach several levies in Missouri in order to redirect floodwaters away from major cities and towards less populated rural areas.
The problem for many farmers was that their farmland lay in the path of those floodwaters.
As farmers in the area look to rebuild, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Emergency Watershed Protection Program is assisting them. The major job of the EWPP right now is to repair drainage ditches and floodway ditches that were heavily damaged by last year’s floods. Over 140 miles of the region’s ditches were filled in with dirt, debris, or sand.
Although engineers hope to have the repairs finished by the end of April, many farmers are worried that they will not be fixed in time for the next round of storms. As one fourth-generation Missouri farmer stated, “It’s not being done as quickly as it should have been. We could have big rains and a big river, and in two weeks time we could be where we were last year.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer