Midwest Farmers May Miss Out On Disaster Aid After Severe Flooding

From The Daily Caller

Tim Pearce | Energy Reporter

U.S. disaster funds are out of reach for thousands of Midwest farmers who lost millions of dollars’ worth of crops due to extensive flooding, Reuters reports.

The federal government manages a wide array of disaster programs meant to alleviate some of the pain of natural disasters. Federal aid is available for ranchers who lose cattle in natural disasters and for farmers who are unable to plant crops due to weather, but no program exists to cover stored crops destroyed in a disaster.

“[Stored harvests lost in a natural disaster have] not traditionally been covered,” U.S. Agriculture Under Secretary Bill Northey told Reuters. “But we’ve not usually had as many losses.” (RELATED: What Does The Science Actually Say About Global Warming And Midwest Floods)

Congress could address the issue with legislation, but putting in place another emergency aid program may take far too long for most farmers who are in immediate need.

“If we have to pass a bill to do it, I hate to tell you how long that takes,” GOP Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa told Reuters.

The Missouri River swelled and flooded tens of thousands of acres and forced thousands of evacuations after a “bomb cyclone” dumped water across the Midwest and Great Plains in mid-March.

Some local farmers blame the federal government for mismanaging the river to begin with by prioritizing the welfare of endangered animals over the communities that live along the Missouri River bank. The Army Corps of Engineers, responsible for controlling reservoirs along the river, dispute that claim.

Flood damage is shown in this earial photo in Percival, Iowa, U.S., March 29, 2019. Photo taken March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Polansek

Flood damage is shown in this earial photo in Percival, Iowa, U.S., March 29, 2019. Photo taken March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Tom Polansek

GOP Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri has questioned the Corps’ management of the river and pledged to investigate whether Corps procedures have contributed to the flooding.

“You see the different way the Corps has been managing the river in recent years, I think I need to ask – it’s my job to ask – is there a connection here?” Hawley told reporters while visiting his state on March 21. “If there is, we need to get to the bottom of it and do something about it. The Corps may need to revise their plans, they may need to revise their flood controls plans, they may need to revise their habitat plans.”

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72 thoughts on “Midwest Farmers May Miss Out On Disaster Aid After Severe Flooding

  1. Building levees on a river that historically spreads out over vast areas when pushed past the banks only pushes the floodwater crest further downstream. This flooding on the Missouri River and its tributaries, like on the Mississippi River in recent years past, has definitely been made worse by levees and whose land gets flooded downstream to save upstream land. But let’s be honest here, cropland flooded is better economically than cropland. Much of that cropland is in floodplains. Next year, the flooded crop land will be more fertile for having a now new layer of silt and sand.

    Yes, sucks for the farmers who lost stored crops under tarps or in silos. Maybe there should be better comp programs in place to allow them to bite the bullet occasionally and take the flood waters so towns and cities don’t get flooded.

    But hey, let’s just blame a trace gas as the Dog-ate-my-homework card excuse.

    • Joel,
      If you want to blame a trace gas go ahead and do so. But there is no mention on causes anywhere
      in the article above.

      • Izaak,

        Apparently you haven’t been paying enough attention to the Fake News outlets.

        Here’s CBS:

        https://www.cbsnews.com/news/midwest-flooding-perfect-storm-of-extreme-weather-climate-change-drove-deadly-flooding-in-nebraska-and-iowa/

        or the Democrat’s PR firm, aka Fake News NYTimes:
        https://www.cbsnews.com/news/midwest-flooding-perfect-storm-of-extreme-weather-climate-change-drove-deadly-flooding-in-nebraska-and-iowa/

        or the bestest Fake News Liberal Propaganda outlet of all – Slate:
        https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/03/midwest-flooding-man-made-disaster.html

        The Lib media already pinned this flooding on Climate Change almost 14 days ago.
        Why? Because lying for their corrupt Moral Cause is what they do.

        • So for the repeated link to CBS.

          Here’s the NYT article link and a quote from it:
          https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/22/climate/what-causes-floods.html

          “So, does climate change play a role?
          Short answer: Yes. Longer answer: It’s still complicated.

          These places have flooded before, and they will flood again. Still, large amounts of rain can increase the likelihood of flooding, and more heavy precipitation over the long term “is an expected and observed consequence of climate change,” Mr. Arndt wrote in an email.”

          According to (rent-seeking) climate scientists a 33% increase in a trace gas now causes river flooding that for thousands of years before was completely natural. Welcome to the Post-modern Science and the Democrat’s new religion.

          • Joel O’Bryan, …… doesn’t a levee cause a per se “bottleneck” in the floodplain of the river channel?

          • The question is:
            Just what “crops” are stored in late March, and why?

            Winter fodder should be at low levels, with rapid grass growth season imminent.

            Are they storing grains while waiting for higher prices?
            That is a risk they take.

            Most wheat used for flour should already be at the millers, who operate larger climate controlled sealed grain elevators.

            Overwintered winter wheat plantings may still be viable.It depends upon how long underwater, silt levels; only time will tell. That could put a boost in the price of wheat, later this year.

          • ATheoK – April 4, 2019 at 12:48 pm

            The question is:
            Just what “crops” are stored in late March, and why?

            Their “crops” seed that they need for spring planting, …. their overflow harvest that they don’t have silo storage space for, ……… their harvested crops that are awaiting transport to their “buyers”. Large grain mills require an inflow of corn, wheat, soybeans ……. all year long.

        • “Yirgach April 4, 2019 at 8:55 am
          Why don’t they raise the storage bins above the 500 year flood level?”
          __________________________________________

          Yirgach, who’s paying the securities for 24/7 guard “above the 500 year flood level?”

      • The editor of our local sales flyer is blaming climate change as well. I’ve had some discussion with him via e-mail. The last time we talked, it was about “not enough snow”. Now we had plenty, and he’s blaming that on climate change, too. *SMH*

        • “The children aren’t going to know what snow is…” (When we were having winters with very little snowfall)

          “Heavier snowfalls are ‘consistent with’ global warming…” (When we started getting buried with heavy snow)

          When they talk out of both sides of their mouths, you know it’s all bullshit.

    • It is called empty reservoirs for flood storage in Southern California. Apparently the concept elsewhere has not caught on. So empty reservoirs would be along the Missouri with gates opened in flood stage to take in the extra water and use it for ground water recharge.

    • You live on a river in a known flood plain it is called build up a dirt platform and put the silo on that. Called planning instead of disaster bitching. You got a tractor to plow a field you got a tractor to make an elevated platform for silos and your house.

      • concur, also called risk management which is why older farms in bottomlands had their houses and barns on knolls.

      • If you ever drive through the Red River Valley south of Winnipeg, you will see towns that are permanently diked, roads that have been raised, bridges well above normal stream levels, and farmsteads on “pads”. They will be very useful in about two weeks. Climate change? Not really, as these defences have been built up over many decades – even a century. Winnipeg built the floodway around the City in the early 1950s. And then there are sandbags.

    • EXACTLY. When they had flooding in previous years, they seemed to resolve to build more (the Cedar Rapids flood was one case. I cannot believe they haven’t learned after all these years that they are called “flood plains” for a reason. When I was in college they taught us not to build on them.

      • Same thing with the Fargo, ND/ Moorhead, MN area. Back in the ’70’s, we used to watch people flood their basements along the Red River with clean water to prevent silt-laden water from entering. The whole area is a flood plain.

        • Or maybe to avoid:
          “Hydrostatic Pressure” refers to a water pressure and is a major cause of basement water problems. Water weighs slightly more than 60lbs. per cubic foot. If the soil around your basement is saturated with water, there could be tens of thousands of pounds of hydrostatic pressure against your foundation.”

          Just saying.

    • Big Business runs the country and Big Agra calls the shots. Seems to me they had it all planned for such a disaster at this. No more private farms and CAFO rules.

  2. Another reason for the massive flooding now taking place is the above average snow melt from the above average snowfall experienced this winter.

    Hey, I thought, “Soon kids won’t even know what snow looks like.” (Dr. Vinter prediction in 2000)…

    I feel sorry for the farmers, but… I don’t think the government should automatically bail them out following every severe weather incident that occurs. That’s why private insurance companies exist..

    Moreover, companies and farmers know full well where the flood lines are and should not build expensive structures in areas that get flooded every 100 years. The government should also stop subsidizing insurance premiums in high-risk areas as it defeats the purpose of insurance… If insurance rates are too high to economically build towns, houses, barns and silos, etc, THEN DON’T build structures there… That’s what the market is telling you, or do a cost/benefit analysis and see if it makes sense to raise $10’s of billions in state taxes to build massive berms to contain 1-in-100 year floods. If it doesn’t make economic sense, then just use the flood plains for crops and pasture land and get reimbursed for crop and animal loss during flooding events.

    The Federal government was never meant to bail out states for weather events as it’s Constitutionally the state’s responsibily.

    • It … sounds … insensitive, but you are correct. I would like to see the current FEMA maps overlaid on the flooded areas. I suspect a substantial amount of the damage occurred within the documented flood zone.

      OTOH … if Federal disaster programs will pay to replace a home, then why not stored crops. They’re both assets. They were both lost or damaged by a natural disaster. Why would one asset be covered, but not another?

      • I come from many generations of farmers and have worked many summers on my relatives’ farms and have the utmost respect for them (the good ones anyway)..

        Sucessful farmers spend a lot on insurance premiums, but that’s just the cost of doing business… if you’re not insured, you go under; that’s the way it is.

        When feckless government hacks think high insurance premiums are “unfair” (aka reflecting reality) they subsidize the insurance companies, which assures eventually the farmers will get screwed when reality happens; that’s what’s unfair…

        If market realities make certain projects unprofitable, DON’T PROCEED!

        When governments interfere in the private sector, and magically “remove risk”, they do no such thing, but rather simply defer the inevitable, which means some welder in Georgia has to taxed to pay for some farmer in Iowa that stupidly was able to build his entire operation on a flood plain…

        • The thing about averages is you almost never receive Average. You are either above, way above, below, or way below…you’d better have contingency plans for either outcome or you are ill prepared

        • Exactly. As someone who works in the insurance industry, I understand this completely.

          Just look at the “coastal pool” types of government interference. The result? Lots of stupid development practices in “beach” areas because nobody has to pay the true cost of living there THEMSELVES – they get to pass the cost on to other insurance buyers forced to subsidize their artificially “cheap” insurance.

          The short of it is, if you’re unwilling or unable to pay the TRUE cost (meaning, actuarially sound insurance rates, whining be damned) of living in a high hazard area, then you simply should not live there.

          • Government subsidies only work for those with enough capitol to invest so that they leverage the return on their investment through a hedge based on the guarantee provided by others.
            In other words most of the risk is covered by your fellow taxpayers. Besides flood insurance, solar and wind installations are prime examples of this unnecessary and ultimately expensive largess.
            But it’s a big club and you ain’t in it (G. Carlin).

    • We have reservoirs all over the Los Angeles Basin that are bone dry, totally empty with channel that connect to the LA river. In floods, the reservoirs are filled, the gates closed, and then opened later when the LA river flow comes back down. This resolves a lot of the flooding other than some local street flooding from clogged drains. Why this concept does not exist in the Midwest is beyond me. For example, for Houston. Dams don’t have to be on rivers. They can be nearby basins with channels constructed for storm flow storage.

      • In Australia, and particularly around urban centres, we’ve started building a lot of Retention Basins, and Retardation Basins. For the same reason you describe above.

        The Retention Basin takes the peak out of the flow and allows the network to cope with the downpoor. They are basically dams which hold the water until it evaporates away.

        The Retardation Basin is similar but has a low flow pipe outlet in the bottom of the basin. It takes the peak out of the flow and drains it out at a much slower rate. These basins are quite large, and often used as recreational grass fields most of the time.

      • Houston does have a flood control reservoir system. Have canoed in it. That’s where I learned you don’t slap floating fire ant balls with a paddle.

    • It’s not a case of “they get flooded every 100 years,” that’s a misnomer. The “100 year” flood means EACH year you have a 1 in 100 chance of such a flood. If you have one this year, you could have another next year, or the year after, too. Or you could have no such flood for 200 years.

      It’s people converting that flood “standard” into “well, we had a big flood in the ’90s, so we shouldn’t see another for about 80 years” in people’s minds that leads to stupid building practices. Well that, and greed, corruption, graft, stupidity, and arrogance, I guess.

      If it’s a “flood plain,” don’t build there, or at least elevate everything you do so it’s well above the flood level – it’s that simple.

  3. It’s hard to know what the Corps could have done differently. All the flooding so far has been from areas that are not controlled by reservoirs.

    • What they do differently is install storage basins along the major rivers with overflow levels set to take in the water at flood crest levels. Farmers get to use the basins knowing that they could flood, use for a small fee. Then the basins are used for groundwater recharge. Called flood basin storage.

      • You don’t know the topography of the area. It is very difficult to get a reservoir that can retain as much as an inch of runoff. In this event there was more than an inch of rain falling on, and melting, more than two feet of snow that had accumulated in February. That two feet of snow was more than two inches of water. So there was three inches of moisture on frozen ground which does not absorb anything. Flooding was inevitable.

        • You correctly stated the conditions that led to this flooding event. California dreaming hydrology does not apply to Iowa and Wisconsin frozen realities.

    • Communities in CA set up flood control districts that pay for construction of emergency storage reservoirs and concreted channels to take in water in heavy rain events. Called a public bond and build it. Live cheap, get flooded. LA rivers are mostly concreted. Others are concrete walled. Not one dirt levee here.

      • I think you’re going to have to know a whole lot more about the topography, geography, and hydrology of the Missouri River basin before you suggest solutions. The vast smugness and ignorance in your suggestions are incredible.

  4. With regards to the attribution of floods and tropical cyclones in the fossil fueled industrial era to fossil fuels, here are some tropical cyclones of the pre industrial era. (Imagine how they would have used something like the Last Island Hurricane if it had happened today)

    https://tambonthongchai.com/2019/04/04/1737/

  5. White farmers!
    Shut the f=== up; you get nothing.
    Just keep paying your tax on time . . .
    Now if you were diverse, you’d be living off benefits + a billion in relief aid.
    Farmers in Puerto Rico matter (you don’t).

  6. So if a farmer plants crops on a flood plain, and every 5-6 years it gets wiped out, who’s fault is it ? it’s a gamble each year… farmers should plan for that, just like the plan for droughts, etc. Nothing has changed for several hundred years (or more) for farmers and their crops.
    It’s not government’s fault, CO2’s fault, Denier’s, Climate’s fault, it’s probably the fault of the farmers who plant on a flood plain. You can now on Google Earth see where the flood plains are by checking elevations above sea level compared to non flood plains, etc.

    • I don’t know if environmental considerations had an effect, but there has long been concern about measurable effects throughout the levee system. The floodplains are a temporary productive aquatic habitat for the same reasons farming is good there. One I recall is about paddlefish using it for spawning. The 1973 flood in Louisiana produced lots of crawfish, catching them with shrimp trawls in soybean fields.

      Texas, big enough to be a country, now has state windstorm insurance. It appears to be more expensive than private.

  7. Spring/seasonal flooding used to be expected. Any weather event these days and people go nuts. The local city officials essentially encouraged people to build on the flood plain south of town. I was horrified.

  8. And the storms keep coming. If this long long stretch of Tpw stays intact as it comes onshore, then Katie bar the door. Note the surface winds pushing this stream like an arrow. Off hand I would guess it will hit from the SF/Bay Area down to LA before moving to the east. … https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/overlay=total_cloud_water/orthographic=-167.95,25.34,672

    Look at 500 hPa over the Western Pacific, the cause of the above Tpw flow, … https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/500hPa/overlay=temp/orthographic=192.03,43.18,670/loc=-177.813,46.942

    • After taking a second look at the winds pushing that system I would amend where it is going to strike land as being further north. More like SF/Bay Area up to Eureka befire it moves inland.

  9. My SD farmer brother said, “there are dams 100+ years old that collapsed from this flooding”
    Googling I found this statement
    “The Great Flood of 1844 is the biggest flood ever recorded on the Missouri River and Upper Mississippi River, in North America, in terms of discharge.”
    Wikipedia article “Mississippi_River_floods” also mentions multiple “Great Floods”.
    2nd biggest flood is 1927, but it is on lower Mississippi so it probably does not apply to SD, Iowa, Nebraska.

    2019 flood is probably a 180-year flood, which people can’t realistically be expected to remember and protect against, Unless the Historians (and government) Inform Them. And, even if they did know, they might decide the chances allow them to take the risk.

    Japan had a similar problem: People didn’t know how high a tsunami had gone before, and their historians failed to inform them.

    Washington State has been running drills for the next Cascadia earthquake, and they’ve got a big exercise coming up. That’s good.

    California built dams because otherwise floods would happen every year. California does not need their historians to remind them.

    • In the case of Japan there were wooden plaques which date back to the 16th century stating “This is how high the water came”. Forewarned is twice warned, yet no one noticed.

      California almost lost the Oroville dam because no one paid attention to history.

      • Oroville was mainly a maintenance issue.
        At every yearly inspection the report had the words; cut those trees [or they may block the drains]. Eventually those trees fell into the new canyon, after they blocked the drains.

        The emergency spillway was only intended to be used in case of total societal collapse. If it gets used, you no longer care about using the power plant.
        That event happened during the reign of Jerry Brown.

        • No, not the dam itself, but both spillways along with some portion of the rock under the emergency spillway. There were two winters which should have given them warning of the potential size of runoff which the structures would face in the future. The first was during the Great West Coast Flood of 1964/65, and the second was in the almost great flood of 1996/97.

          Now this current incoming storm could well be a 3rd test as it will be warmer rains, and the system stretches across 2/3rds of the Pacific Ocean. The surface winds have this aimed straight at California, maybe centering on the SF/Bay Area from the looks of the flow, … https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/surface/level/overlay=total_cloud_water/orthographic=-147.68,29.98,672/loc=-123.289,37.393

          • No. There was plenty of good unweathered rock under the emergency spillway to prevent its collapse. The original ogee overflow was placed on unweathered rock and that concrete kept it from weathering. Though there was one concentrated flow that was worrying, it was not much in comparison to the beating that the rock was subjected to from the flows from the main spillway. The rock under the emergency spillway would have been subjected to no where near the beating that the unweathered rock elsewhere sustained without untowward wear.

      • California almost lost the Oroville dam because no one paid attention to history.

        The dam itself was just fine and never in any danger. It was the spill ways that were in trouble.

    • They do need to be reminded that they go through drought/plenty cycles. I know I lived through three of them in the 33 years I lived there. When I moved there in ’77, we were in a drought, with northern Californians upset that southern Californians were getting their water. In the early ’90s we were in another drought that masked the fact – for years – that the flashing in my new home was installed backwards. I shouldn’t have to mention that Califonia just declared the last drought over in the last two months.
      But in the next ten years, we’ll hear about unprecedented droughts, and no historian will point out that it has happened many times before, because that won’t fit the Climate Change meme.

  10. Farmers help farmers.

    The farmers affected by this disaster will be getting help from farmers from all over the United States. I saw a guy on tv a couple of days ago with a huge load of hay he was hauling and donating to farmers in the affected areas. I imagine a lot of that is going on based on what has happened in past disasters.

  11. Just about every river in NE flooded prior to the Missouri flooding, but sure it was the Corps. fault, riight.

  12. How about we get rid of river management, insurance and let people wing it? They did this for hundreds of years and somehow survived.

  13. Considering I live in Nebraska, I did get to watch this catastrophe unfold in real time. The spring ice-jams that happen almost every year where different this year. February was unusually cold as well as the first part of March. The ice that was “normally” about 10-12″ thick on the rivers was twice that easily this season. We had a build-up of more than a foot of snow that should be considered “Frozen Slush”. This is not the powder fluff snow that occurs in higher elevations. My 2 stage snowblower got clogged up several times this season. One day, it got warm. Temps jumped up into the 50’s and 2-4″ of rain fell and melted the frozen slush almost immediately. Then the cookie crumbled. The “Spencer Dam” burst. The domino effect afterwards so far has reached Missouri.

    In Iowa, the town of Humboldt has a legitimate bitch about the Corps. of engineers. Everyone else should have had a plan.

    Climate change, BS.

    The livestock deaths are shocking. The Ethanol plants that have been providing feedstock for the livestock can’t get the feed there. There is livestock literally “stuck in the mud”. There is livestock clogging up the river system. The ice-jams were enhanced by the livestock this year.

    • The photos I have seen of the Niobrara show it to be stunningly wide. I will bet it caught a lot of cattle.

      • The Niobrara usually moves real slow. It’s a hippy retreat river with ample wildlife. They have float trips all the time that are way to docile. This year, they reek of death.

  14. This winter in Wyoming reminded me quite a lot of 1972-1973, so I was expecting flooding somewhere, although I was expecting the worst in Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota. Maybe that potential still exists. The floods of 1973 impacted mainly the Mississippi south of Cairo, Illinois.

  15. https://www.chronicle.com/interactives/2019-03-27-childress
    About “paraprofessionals” taking over teaching. History, and much of the humanities have been hurt even more than the sciences, with the sciences, and even engineering, at the forefront of ignoring history. The chronicle of higher education seems to be on the warpath, about time. History has a history of being ignored, but we may set a record.

    According to Isaac Cline, main meteorologist for the1927 flood in Louisiana, the worst flood was in 1858, but there were less documented large ones earlier. Because the lower Mississippi gets water from so much of the US, biggest floods can come when it comes from all tributaries. Both the 1927 and 1973 floods were estimated to put over 125 cubic nautical miles of water in the Gulf. (Gunter, G. 1979. The annual flows of the Mississippi River. Gulf Research Reports. 6(3):283-290.) An interesting paper as are the observations upstream here.

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