Spring Flooding Worries North Dakotans

As spring flooding continues in North Dakota, agricultural commissioners are warning farmers and ranchers to brace for continued bad weather. Severe weather conditions last week have led to road closures and have paralyzed business throughout North Dakota. Compounding the flooding problems, heavy spring snows fell on Saturday, continuing road closures and worrying state officials. The snows in particular worry cattle ranchers, who fear that the flooding combined with the ice could be deadly for cattle. In 2009, similar weather conditions killed 70,000 cattle and calves in the state.

In addition to dangers faced by cattle ranchers, heavy spring rains and continued flooding could pose serious dangers to the human population. North Dakota agriculture commissioners have warned farmers to be aware of the dangers posed by pesticide use in the face of heavy rain. Severe flooding and rain could leach pesticides from crops and fields. More importantly, pesticide and fertilizer storage containers could be damaged by flooding, potentially contaminating food and livestock feed.

Iowa is facing similar pesticide contaminations. While severe soil erosion has played a major role in Iowa’s difficulties, pesticide pollution from Iowa fields has been known to leach into local streams, eventually leading to major rivers, like the Mississippi.

Rain and snow seem likely to continue in North Dakota for the next several days.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer