Isabella County Farmers Still Dealing With Water Damage After June Floods
"I’ve heard numbers of $28 million just in crop damage, alone,” says Paul Gross, MSU Extension Educator in Isabella County.
Millions of dollars of damage to farm fields can still be seen today.
Flooding caused all sorts of problems in many different locations, including some spots where crops were ripped from the ground.
Floods across Mid-Michigan about a month ago damaged roads, homes and farms.
Several counties, including Midland, Isabella and Gladwin experienced widespread flooding in June after storms brought around 8 inches of rain within hours.
Governor Snyder declared an emergency, saying FEMA agents would be surveying the area for possible federal help.
Some roads and farm fields were destroyed.
In continuing coverage, 9&10’s Cody Boyer and photojournalist Jeff Johnson checked in with farmers in some of the hardest hit areas.
"A 10-percent loss, even a 5-percent loss across the top of it there could make the difference between a break-even year and a loss year,” says Jerry Neyer, a dairy farmer alongside his father and brother near Mt. Pleasant.
It’s a loss that could make or break farms like Jerry’s.
“As you can see behind us here, we’ve got some pretty discolored corn,” Neyer says. “During the storm, this was submerged for two days for quite a few yards out."
Standing water soaked corn and washed out edges of roads, taking good topsoil with it.
“We probably lost close to 10 acres on this field, a 30-acre field that won’t produce an actual corn crop,” Neyer says. “We’ll probably lose around $10,000 out of this field here."
“We’ve got some soy beans and corn that are grounded out in some low spots,” says Ben Bryant, who co-owns a farm with his family near Shepherd. “Got some nitrogen loss."
Bryant says many crops survived.
Other weren’t as lucky.
“All got hit,” Bryant says. “Soy beans took it probably worse than the corn did because they were completely underwater for a lot longer."
“Dry beans…they really took a hit with all of this water,” says Paul Gross, MSU Extension Educator in Isabella County. “They just can’t stand wet feet."
The MSU Extension says the amount of projected damage will reach the tens of millions.
“I’ve heard numbers of $28 million just in crop damage, alone,” Gross says. “Those numbers, it’s hard to get your arms around what the true impact is. We’ve not had this kind of water this early in the growing season."
“We’re anticipating a loss year where we we’ll have to redo things and have to find other areas where we can squeeze a little money out to make ends meet,” Neyer says.
Farmers hope erosion buffers that were washed away will also be replaced.
The MSU Extension hopes federal relief funds will come through for these farmers, who are trying to be optimistic.
“We’re back in motion,” Bryant says. “Spraying has been caught up, the weed control. We’re much better off than we were after the rain."