An update now on the flooding in the Midwest, specifically in Nebraska where it hit the hardest. Waters are receding but the damage left behind is simply unbelievable.
“Gravel roads- 6-foot-deep that the water has taken out and just absolutely destroyed some those bottomed roads.”
That is fellow farm broadcaster Bryce Doeschot from KRVN and The Rural Radio Network in Nebraska who joined me for a video call on Friday. He told me that at one point after the flooding, 2,000 miles of Nebraska state roads were closed. That number is now, thankfully, down to 200. But concerns remain as that estimate does not include county roads.
“14 state bridges were closed and have significant damage, 11 of which the bridge is completely gone. So, that is significant. Those are state, it does not include some of those counties. In those counties, you think about they have to fund that. They’re having meetings of how are going to repair this infrastructure when we don’t have the income to do so.”
Doeschot was sure to say thank you for the outpouring of support for Nebraskans from across the country amid these natural disasters. He said he spoke with Nebraska Farm Bureau earlier this week and their disaster fund has eclipsed $500,000, though it will still take more to fully recover. He said the response locally has been great as well, including from the Nebraska National Guard.
“I don’t know if you saw some of those videos, but they were doing hay drops because cattlemen and cattlewomen couldn’t get to their cattle that were along some of the bottom, so the National Guard was dropping hay out of the back of a Chinook helicopter. So, it’s been neat, I will say, to see how folks are coming together to solve some of these challenges that they’re seeing.”
A video of that has been shared to our Facebook page.
Reports on the amount of lost cattle have ranged from anywhere between 100,000 and 1 million lost. Secretary Sonny Perdue called the report of 1 million lost as false, but when I asked Doeschot where that number actually sits, he said they simply don’t know.
“The Nebraska Department of Agriculture put out some initial estimates. That initial estimate was $400 million in livestock losses. So, $400 million in livestock as well as $440 million in crop losses. So, nearly $1 billion there alone in agriculture. I think we’re going to see that number increase as folks are not able to plant their fields this spring.”
Relief efforts are still underway. Hear more about those efforts and more from Doeschot about the flooding in the video above.