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A look at flooding along the Missouri RiverA look at flooding along the Missouri River

Slideshow: USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey visits family farmer.

Mindy Ward

March 29, 2019

11 Slides

Andy Spiegel looks out at the water and shakes his head. “We’ve never had a flood this time of year. This is unknown territory for us,” he said. “It does look like it is going be a lot longer lasting than before.”

Spiegel can only wonder what the next few months have in store. “We worry about big rains,” he said. “They usually come in the spring and summer.” Additional moisture will only add to the growing problem from the 2019 Missouri River flood.

Only eight years ago, the family endured another catastrophic flood event. “In 2011, it was around for a long time, but that happened in summer,” Spiegel said. “The water receded by fall. Then we had great weather to repair the damage.”

This year, he is not that optimistic. “They are talking multiyear project to get levees fixed,” he said. “We are talking unprotected crop ground for years to come.”

Spiegel shared his concerns with USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey. Northey recently visited the family farm north of Watson, Mo., in Atchison County to view the devastation up close.

Click through the slideshow for a view of more of Northey’s trip.

About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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