Saturday, July 2, 2011

How the Floods May Affect You - Part 2

This post got long, sorry...I like to break them up but couldn't find a good place to break. If you get bored reading, at least take a look at some of the incredible photos some of my friends have taken of the floods.

Let’s talk about the great state of Missouri for a little bit…we rank in the top 10 in national production in soybeans, cotton, grain sorghum and corn based on a 2009 survey with 29 million acres, 66% of the state’s total land use. Back to the Bird’s Point Levee break back in May, FAPRI (the University of Missouri’s Food and Agricultural Policy Research Institute) published an estimation that ‘southeast Missouri farmers lost $85 million in potential crop value…’ when the levee was blown up, this does not account for long-term economic impact of the decision. The Corp of Engineers is being blamed for the agricultural flooding that has been seen in many areas of the Midwest, but especially at Birds Point in southeast Missouri where approximately 2 miles of levee was blown up in result flooding of 130,000 acres of rich, fertile farmland versus allowing the levee to break naturally and potentially flooding a small Illinois town of 2, a lot of reports I have read and talked to ag suppliers in that area that some of those were 100 year family farms and some may never return to production. This blog is not to blame the Corp but just to provide facts about the ramifications of the flooding for most every American. Now I would be happy to debate the topic with anyone, I've not been a conspiracy theorist long...but I have my own theories on this one many of which have been discussed in a larger forum, just not today and not on this blog.

Due to another decision made by the Corp in the Dakotas farmers in northwest Missouri are also dealing with severe flooding as farmers in southeast Missouri did just a short 60 days ago. Water released from the over flowing Gavins Point Dam in South Dakota/Nebraska has made its way down to northwest Missouri where based on The Latest Situation Report 6-29-2011 from the Holt County, Missouri’s facebook page for 32 miles of continuous river for 32 miles, 11 miles wide at the widest point and totals 165,000 acres, not all of which can be considered production farm acres. Some perspective on the almost 70 year old dam release that has sent thousands scattering from homes is release approximately 150-thousand cubic feet every second, based on a report from Sioux City, IA KTIV that would fill 2.1 million, 2-liter soda bottles ever second, EVERY SECOND. Completely amazing but that is away from my point, as this water heads south we will see more farm land, planted farm land that won’t show up on the USDA planting report as unplanted acres become flooded and removed from production. Planted farm land that now looks like this:

Photo from Lindsey Smith, near Hamburg, IA

Photo from Jessica Keith

Photo from Lindsey Smith - I-29
Photo from Jeff Dalbey - Corning, MO

Can you imagine working on a project for 4-5 months, planning, prepping, taking the first few steps just to have it all taken away from you by something that may or may not have been preventable? I cannot. It makes me sick to think of all hard work that went into planting these fields and now they are nothing and will require an immense amount of work to prepare to get them back into production for 2012, if that is even possible. Not only is this happening in northwest Missouri, but this photo is from Kim Piepmeier in Lexington, east of Kansas City and the sad part is that water is still coming down and the river is still rising.

Photo from Kim Piepmeier - Lexington, MO

Photo from Kim Piepmeier - Lexington, MO

Again I realize I’m off total point which is what is the impact on the average consumer? In the state of Missouri a report from AgEbb shows that a 5 year average for corn production is 139.6 bushels/acre. If we assume that half of the acres that have been flooded to-date and will not be in production in 2011 to be 147,500 acres that could have produced 139.6 bushels/acre which would be around 20.6 million bushels of corn.

What could we do with 20.6 million bushels of corn
658 million pounds of corn starch for cooking
51 million gallons of ethanol
680 million pounds of sweetener

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