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Missouri River Flooding Will Impact Iowa Corn, Soybean Acres

Missouri River Flooding Will Impact Iowa Corn, Soybean Acres

Economists say over 2 million acres in U.S. are threatened by flooding and torrential rains this year. Iowa Farm Bureau says cumulative damage will impact food prices.

Market analysts are saying that the cumulative loses of cropland in 2011 in Iowa due to wet weather and flooding, and also in the Dakotas and Ohio, are likely to have both immediate and long-term effects on food prices.

Dave Miller, director of research and commodity services for the Iowa Farm Bureau, says 100,000 acres of Iowa farmland will be impacted by the rising floodwaters of the Missouri River and another 50,000 acres could be indirectly affected by backed-up water that is slow to drain. 

"While a 150,000-acre loss in Iowa would have a minimal impact in the big picture, the USDA just came out with a supply and demand report last week which estimates a loss of 2 million harvestable acres in the last month because of continued wet weather in the Dakotas and Ohio plus flooding in the Mississippi River basin and approaching floods in the Missouri River area. That is likely to frenzy the corn market and we may see the highest prices yet for corn."

Cumulative damage in corn growing areas will impact food prices

Miller adds, "That means, in the short-term, we may see food products such as cooking oil or corn tortillas rise in price. And in the next six months to a year, we may see meat prices rise as livestock farmers reduce their herds in reaction to higher feed costs."

So much is hinging on the weather right now and while Iowa farmers struggled to plant in a wet spring, 61% of them got their corn crop in the ground in a single week during a break in the weather in early May. That's good news. "But, what it means is the majority of the 2011 corn crop here in Iowa will be pollinating at the same time, which makes this crop especially vulnerable to Iowa's changing weather patterns," says Miller.

Miller, who also farms in Lucas county in southern Iowa, says farmers who own land along the Missouri River bottom are likely to see average losses of about $1,000 per acre.

It was nearly three years ago at this time (June 23, 2008) when Iowa farm crops were devastated by Mississippi River floodwaters and torrential rains.  At that time, planting was delayed by record late-spring rainfall and Iowa faced a $3 billion crop loss and an additional half billion in livestock feed cost losses. This year the threat to farmland is different because it's cumulative across two river basins and four key farming states.

Missouri River flooding: state joint information center update

The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division  on June 10 activated the State Emergency Operations Center in response to the flooding situation in Western Iowa.  Personnel from the Iowa National Guard, Department of Public Safety, Department of Transportation, Department of Natural Resources and other agencies as appropriate will be working with HSEMD from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. daily.

General state response: Iowa HSEMD continues to support requests from local emergency management agencies to include sand, sandbags, pumps, life vests, etc.

• Iowa Department of Transportation continues to provide staging areas for resources and transportation of resources to areas of need.

• The Iowa Department of Corrections is continuing to provide inmate assistance for sandbagging where needed.

• The State has requested technical assistance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for all counties along the Missouri River from Woodbury County south. 

Iowa Concern Hotline and 2-1-1: Citizens in the affected areas may call the Iowa Concern Hotline at 1-800-447-1985. When flooding is a concern in the state, Iowa State University Extension's Iowa Concern hotline is available for those who need assistance. The Iowa Concern Hotline is available 24 hours a day. All calls are free and confidential, and the operators are willing to assist wherever possible. 

• In addition, residents may call 2-1-1 with questions or concerns about the flooding and steps they should take. 2-1-1 is an easy to remember telephone number that connects callers to information about critical health and human services available in their community.

Weather: For updated weather information, visit the National Weather Service website at

Donations and volunteering: Donations of "stuff" (clothing, miscellaneous food items, household goods, etc.) are NOT needed at this time. This is not the time to clean out your closet to send to those in counties affected by flooding. Unsolicited donations cause additional staffing and storage problems that local officials do not have the resources to manage.

If you want to help, cash is best. It doesn't need to be sorted, stored or distributed, and cash allows the receiving voluntary agency to direct the donation to the most urgent needs. To donate cash, visit

Those wishing to volunteer in a disaster-related capacity may sign up to do so at

More links and social media: Donation, volunteer, county-specific links and more can be found on the Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division website at

• Those wishing to follow the events via Twitter should follow and use the hash tag #MORiver. This hash tag will be used throughout the duration of flooding along the Missouri River.

Additionally, Gov. Branstad's office has set up a webpage,, for Iowans to get updates on flooding along the Missouri River.

Live streaming of daily flood briefing: Until further notice, a briefing about the flood situation along the Missouri River will take place daily at 3:30 p.m. Visit  or for more information.

"Flood Watch Flickr Page" launched by state of Iowa: Aerial photos of Missouri River flooding are uploaded, and will be updated regularly. The office of Iowa Governor Terry Branstad June 9 announced the launch of the state's "Flood Watch Flickr Page." The page will be updated regularly with the most up-to-date aerial photos taken by various state agencies.

The photos can be found at: The photos are taken regularly and shared through the cooperation of various state agencies including Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division, Iowa Department of Transportation and the Iowa State Patrol. All photos uploaded to the "Flood Watch Flickr Page" are available for use by media outlets. If you must credit the photo, please credit Iowa Governor's Office. For more information, please visit or

TAGS: USDA Extension
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