Farmers, ag equipment dealers and manufacturers are all feeling the after-effects of the “bomb cyclone” that hit the Great Plains late last week. Nebraska officials estimate that the storm and ensuing record flooding is costing the agricultural industry there about $1 million a day. Overall, they estimate that Nebraska agriculture could take a billion dollar hit in damage and losses when all is said and done.
Iowa and South Dakota has also been hard hit by flooding in recent days, according to various reports.
One report describes the rare hurricane force system as “combining the weather of all four seasons into one — from a string of violent, tornadic thunderstorms to damaging winds, severe blizzard conditions and flooding.” It’s rare because storms like these typically form over water, but this one transformed from typical weather disturbance into a storm of unbelievable force over land.
Valmont Industries, the manufacturer of irrigation equipment for agriculture, announced that it had idled its Valley, Neb., manufacturing facility. According to the company, “the facility will remain closed until it is determined to be safe for employees to return. The majority of the buildings on site have not been impacted and remain dry. The flooding has, however, resulted in the closure of major roads and highways surrounding the facility, making the campus inaccessible.”
Farm equipment dealers have also been impacted. One overhead video shows John Deere dealer Agrivision’s Pacific Junction, Iowa, store barely visible as flood waters totally engulf the dealership and surrounding areas.
In response to devastating flooding in Nebraska, the Equipment Dealers Foundation (EDF), Equipment Dealers Assn. (EDA) and Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers Assn. (INEDA) are urging anyone who can to make a donation to EDF’s Disaster Relief Fund.
Iowa-Nebraska Equipment Dealers group has pledged that INEDA will match any donation the fund receives from one of its dealer members. Disaster Relief Funds go directly to assist employees of equipment dealerships impacted by natural disasters. Donations can be made online or by completing this pledge card and mailing your check (made out to Equipment Dealers Foundation) to: Equipment Dealers Foundation, 165 N. Meramec Ave. Suite 430, St. Louis, Mo. 63105. EDF also accepts donations made via credit card over the phone. Please call the EDF office at 636-349-5000.
Historic flooding in Iowa is also hitting farmers in unexpected ways. According to a report in the Wall Street Journal farmers in Fremont Country, Iowa, have also lost stored crops because they didn’t have enough warning to empty their grain bins before the flooding hit.
Mike Wight, a spokesman for the Nebraska Emergency Management Agency, summed up the current situation there: “They can’t even get into some areas to look at infrastructure like a bridge or a levee,” he said. “The blizzard came up fast, the floods came up fast. Recovery is going to be a lot slower.”