The president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau says farm and ranch losses due to the devastating flooding could reach $1 billion in the state.
Steve Nelson estimates $400 million in crop losses because of crops that will be planted late, if at all. He also estimates as much as $500 million in livestock losses as Nebraska and other Midwestern states struggle with swollen rivers and breached levees following heavy rain and snowmelt.
Nelson tells the Omaha World-Herald that he wouldn’t be surprised if “lost agriculture numbers go over a billion dollars.”
Agriculture amounts to 20 percent of Nebraska’s gross domestic product and provides one of every four jobs in the state.
Nelson says flooding is costing the state’s cattle industry $1 million a day in costs that usually aren’t covered by insurance.
Vice President Mike Pence is headed to the Midwest to view flood damage as farmers raise concerns that busted levees won’t be fixed before the traditional spring flood season.
Pence is scheduled to visit Omaha, Nebraska, late Tuesday afternoon. Hundreds of homes are damaged, and tens of thousands of acres are inundated with water.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says rivers breached at least a dozen levees in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. Flooding is expected through the week as high water levels flow down the Missouri River.
Corps official Jud Kneuvean says levees usually take six months to repair. That means most likely won’t be fixed by mid-May, the start of the most flood-prone part of the year.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau says farm and ranch losses could reach $1 billion in Nebraska alone.