As the floodwaters recede in the coming weeks, many Dodge County farmers will be left with a significant amount of work on their hands, says Lon Strand, a supervisor for Dodge County and a farmer, whose 300 acres near Logan Creek were “probably four feet underwater” on Thursday.
“It’s just one more thing that farmers don’t need at this point, with low grain prices and added expenses,” Strand said.
When farmland floods, the first order of the business is the clean up — pulling away all of the trees, debris and anything left behind.
“Whatever came down the river ends up in your fields,” he said.
Additionally, the flooding could change the soil type as new soils from the incoming waters enter the fields. Still, despite the cleanup work, Strand says you won’t see most farmers — particularly those with land near waterways — complaining.
“You have to just plan on that, and that’s part of owning river-bottom ground — it’s just how it is and you don’t really complain about it because it’s your choice to own it,” Strand said.
Strand said he doesn’t anticipate this latest bout of floods to significantly impact the Dodge County agricultural economy. He said it was possible — affected farmers could be stuck with paying another $3 to $4 per acre in clean up — but the flooding had occurred at a somewhat convenient time of year.
“The good news is it’s early enough: You’d way rather have [a flood] now than in June after you’ve planted,” Strand said. “We don’t have a crop in the ground at this point.”
One of the bigger problems longer term could be the road conditions, with most of Dodge County’s roads closed due to flooding over the past few days. Some roads were completely washed away, Strand said, and the county ran out of barricades trying to close them.
“We’re going to see some definite challenges going forward here,” Strand said. “I look forward to a shortage of gravel and rock because this is a statewide thing. This is not just a Dodge County thing. It’s a mess all over.”
Ultimately, Strand says that farmers will survive the aftermath of this week’s flooding.
“Farmers are known for tightening the belt up and doing with what you’ve got,” he said.