Flooding to hurt farming industry

Floodwaters have turned many fields into lakes and because agriculture is such a big industry in Nebraska, it could come back to hurt the state.

Dennis Pitzel is a former farmer and says, “there's no saving that at all.  Anything that's underwater will not come back up.”

That poses a problem for more than just the planters and plowers. Climatologists at UNL say this kind of crop damage spans across the whole United States.  Climatologist Al Dutcher says, “we have to not only look at Nebraska; we have to look to the east of us where they've had exception amounts of rainfall.  Iowa, Illinois, Indiana are all under the same boat and if the trend continues for them, we're going to probably see U.S. grain projections start to diminish as we go forward.”

That means less income for farmers and a fewer taxes going to the state.  Mix into that, possibly higher feed costs for cattle ranchers and a handful of other pessimistic possibilities.  Dutcher says, “if corn takes off, we're probably either going to have to scale back the amount of ethanol in order to keep some steady supply around or we're going to run out of supply and make it short for next year, when prices will skyrocket.”

The only fix to the problem isn't a quick one – it's a dry out – and climatologists aren't predicting one anytime soon.  Farmer Randy Kassmeier says he'll keep hoping for one.  “Time will tell.  It will depend on if the weather is favorable afterwards.” 

Dutcher says there's a good chance July and August could be extremely dry after this extremely wet June, but that's not good for the crops either.