By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
Kansas State Agriculture Director Mike Beam says he’s heard a lot of frustration when he talks with farmers lately.
“It has to be one of the most frustrating years that producers have experienced in recent memory,” Beam tells KFEQ Farm Director Melissa Gregory.
Beam says veteran Kansas farmers say this past winter was the worse that they could remember.
“Especially in regards to livestock. The rural road conditions and now trying to get the 2019 fall crop in the ground.”
Beam says flooding has ruined any chance for spring planting on as many as 25,000 acres of farmland in the four northeast Kansas counties.
Beam says the state will help farmers impacted by the flood as much as it can, but state resources are limited.
“The state’s role tends to be to make sure that we make application to USDA to have those counties declared federally eligible for disaster programs,” according to Beam.
Beam suggests farmers with flood damage contact their local Farm Service Agency.
In Washington, the U.S. Senate is expected next week to debate a disaster relief package approved earlier in the House.
Not just agriculture took the brunt of damage when the Missouri River flooded throughout the region. Kansas roads took a pounding.
Beam points out that the closure of Interstate 29 had a wide-ranging impact.
Flooding in southwest Iowa heavily damaged I-29 just across the Missouri state line. Missouri transportation officials closed the interstate to through traffic just north of St. Joseph. Though MoDOT urged travelers to take I-35 or U.S. 71 north into Iowa to re-connect with I-29, the bulk of the traffic, including semi tractor-trailers, drove on Highway 36 into Kansas, then north into Nebraska.
Beam says Kansas roads aren’t built for such heavy traffic. He says the state is working with the U.S. Department of Transportation to see if it can secure any resources to help rebuild the rural infrastructure.