Southeast South Dakota Flooding Affecting Farmers

June 16, 2010

Farmers in rain-ravaged southeast South Dakota have lost crops, feed and even calves to flooding caused by several days of heavy rain, but they aren’t losing hope.

“Catastrophe is too strong of a word for what we’re dealing with,” Mitchell-area farmer Chad Blindauer said. “But it has drastically affected the growing year and your income for the year.”

Insurance will help cover corn and soybean losses “though it’s not like getting a crop,” Bridgewater-area farmer David Schrag said. “It is better than nothing.”

Curtis Fox, executive director of the Farm Service Agency office in Mitchell, said how quickly the standing water is absorbed into the soil in coming days will determine the extent of the damage.

“Really, there are no options to do anything until you see what happens,” he said.

Fox said farmers who have yet to complete planting might not be able to get back in the fields. Crop insurance can help mitigate those losses, as well.

Flooding in the region has swamped fields, homes, roads and even small towns. In Charles Mix County, the community of Marty had to be evacuated after torrential weekend rains, and Ravinia’s sewer system is feared destroyed.

“I’ve already talked to the people in town that are making an outhouse out of a five-gallon plastic bucket. Matter of fact, I’ve got one at my place,” Jerry McEntaffer said.

Mitchell area horse breeders Dennis and Mary Reiners had to move animals to higher ground.

“We’re OK; hopefully everyone else is OK. We’ll get through this,” Mary Reiners said.

Kristi Turman, director of the state Office of Emergency Management, said officials are working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to determine what federal assistance might be available.

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