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Flooding Overwhelms Farmers in Midwest

by Guest Blogger |

Late winter storms immediately followed by warm spring weather has caused record flooding in much of the Midwest, including Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Kansas, South Dakota, and Minnesota.

The consequences have been catastrophic for family farmers and ranchers in the region; just in Nebraska, the cost to agriculture is estimated at $1 billion. These expenses are due in large part to crop loss, livestock deaths, and building damage. But even farmers who have been able to salvage their products face significant barriers to storing or selling them because entire portions of critical infrastructure—like roads and bridges—have been swept away in the floods. 

There’s no good time for this kind of natural disaster, but these floods are particularly poorly timed. Early spring a critical period for planting, and interruptions this time of year can delay harvest and ultimately reduce yields. The effects of this perfect storm are painfully palpable in farm country; the majority of farm households actually lost money farming last year.

The good news is that farmers who have been affected by flooding are not on their own—in addition to regular crop insurance programs, there are a number of national and state assistance programs in place to provide support during this challenging time. You can find an overview of USDA disaster assistance programs and other national resources at NFU’s Farm Crisis webpage. It’s important to note that participation in many of these programs requires documentation of losses—Rural Advancement Foundation International (RAFI) provides advice for appropriately documenting losses.

There are also state-specific assistance resources. The following list is not exhaustive—if you have questions, please contact National Farmers Union’s office.






South Dakota



Originally published on March 21, 2019, in the National Farmers Union newsletter.

National Farmers Union believes that good opportunities in production agriculture are the foundation of strong farm and ranch families, and strong farm and ranch families are the basis for thriving rural communities. Vibrant rural communities, in turn, are vital to the health, security and economic well-being of our entire national economy.

Need hardship assistance? The Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund is here to help.

The CCOF Foundation offers direct financial assistance exclusively to organic producers who suffer financial losses due to extreme hardship. Learn more about the Bricmont Hardship Assistance Fund.