Pressing On Despite The Floodwaters

Eye on KELOLAND

Flooding is hitting many KELOLAND communities hard this year. For those who farm, the flooding and wet conditions can dramatically impact livelihoods. 

Harold Klimisch is a fifth-generation farmer in Yankton County. His land borders the James River, which usually is not this swollen with floodwater.  

Well, it’s meant a, quite a loss in income, and a big cleanup, a big mess to clean up, Harold Klimisch said. 

That’s not all that farmers are dealing with this spring- all of this water raises a lot of questions. 

Future’s a little bit unpredictable, Harold Klimisch said. Are we going to get a crop in this year? I don’t know. It’s not looking good. We’ve got a lot of ditches washed out and fields that are tore up and wet spots, so I don’t know what’s going to happen.

His son Dennis also farms this land, which has had around 200 acres under water.

It’s a detriment obviously if we can’t get a crop in, and it’s bad because we still have to pay taxes on the land that we can’t farm, and if a person has insurance, [that] helps them, but it never is a total amount covered, Dennis Klimisch said.

The problems go beyond these fields. Weather has negatively impacted the task of raising livestock, too.

It makes everything tougher, with whether it be the snow, the cold or the mud that we’re dealing with now, it’s a challenge, especially during calving time, Dennis Klimisch said. The animals are in the mud, they get stuck in the mud, or get in a water hole and can’t get out, when it’s cold, if you can’t get to the animals right away then they could possibly die.

He’s already lost some animals. Dennis’ twin brother Dan farms this land part-time. He’s also chairman of the Yankton County Commission.

Ag’s number-one industry in Yankton County, and when we have, when the farm economy is going good, all of our county prospers, and we’re in a situation now with all this flooding that people are going to lose some income off of it, and that has a potential to affect the entire county, Dan Klimisch said.

You don’t need to live here to feel this.

Everybody, even if they live in town, it can have a negative effect to businesses, and grocery stores, and auto parts stores, so it’s going to have a big effect on our community, Dan Klimisch said.

As his twin brother points out, Mother Nature always comes out on top. But of course, there’s no harm in hoping.

I hope the elusive sun keeps shining, and we get a little bit of breeze to dry stuff out, and that’s going to do a lot for animals, and it’ll do a lot for future farming, Dennis Klimisch said.

People are, they’re not happy with all the flooding, but they’re going to just keep moving forward, Dan Klimisch said.

We live here, that’s just something we have to put up with, I don’t know what else you can do, just gotta keep going forward, Harold Klimisch said. 

And that’s just what he’ll do. 

We’ll tighten the belt one place or another, and don’t do some of the things we probably wanted to do, and just gotta, you gotta do that to keep going or else you won’t survive, Harold Klimisch said. 

That’s what they’ve done, and it’s worked for generations, so no sense stopping now.

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