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Missouri River Flooding Cost Nebraska Nearly $189 Million

Missouri River Flooding Cost Nebraska Nearly $189 Million

Of that total, $105.8 million is lost crop sales experienced by farmers. Burt and Washington counties experienced much of the flood's impact.

The spring flooding along the Missouri River cost Nebraska nearly $189 million in lost agricultural crop sales and related economic activity, according to a study by the Nebraska Farm Bureau.

"We knew the economic losses to farmers and the state were high, but we wanted to quantify them for future policy discussions," says Nebraska Farm Bureau President Keith Olsen.

The study looked at 14 counties along the Missouri River which border South Dakota or Iowa.

"Of the total, $105.8 million of the total is lost crop sales experienced by farmers," says Jay Rempe, ag economist and vice president of governmental affairs for the Farm Bureau. "The remainder is the economic activity indirectly lost in these areas that did not occur because of the crop losses such as processing, marketing and distribution or the purchases of agricultural equipment.

"The total figure also includes the effects of fewer household purchases by farmers and others who are indirectly involved with the growing of crops in the affected region."

The study also estimated the crop income indirectly lost in these counties resulted in nearly $57.8 million in wages that would have been generated from the growing of crops and supporting activities if the flooding hadn't occurred, he said.

Burt and Washington Counties experienced the highest losses, both topping $28 million in impacts, according to the study.

Nebraska's net farm income for 2011 also will be affected, Rempe says, with the flooding accounting for more than $41 million less than expected if there had there been no flooding event.

The study looked only at lost crops and doesn't include such costs as disaster clean-up, reduced soil productivity, repairs to levees and impacts on buildings, roads and other property, Olsen notes.

"The total $189 million is the impact for Nebraska for 2011, but the farmers who were affected will be dealing with the effects of the flood and lower crop yields for years to come. And that will mean less economic activity in eastern Nebraska for several years to come."

The study was conducted by Decision Innovation Solutions of Urbandale, Iowa, which also studied the economic impacts of the flooding on Iowa, on behalf of the Iowa Farm Bureau. The flood's impact on six Iowa southwestern counties was pegged at $207 million.
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