TURNER COUNTY, S.D. (KELO) — With parts of KELOLAND running into some rain and snow this week, local farmers are keeping an eye on river levels after all the flooding that took place over the last year. KELOLAND’s Matt Holsen caught up with several farmers hoping for the best this spring.
Winding its way through Turner County, the Vermillion River can be a thing of beauty and a natural and economic disaster waiting to happen. Many fields in this area near Davis saw little yield during the past harvest.
“Rural America definitely took a hit,” farmer Andrew Haan said.
“This is a field just right outside of Davis. One that went under last year several times,” Andrew said.
Andrew and Jason Haan’s family got half their acres planted last year, mainly with beans. Even when they put in cover crop, which is what they did at this field, it often flooded again.
“It was a challenge. We got it in and then it did go under again before we could get it put up for bailing for cattle. It did help erosion but that’s about it,” Jason said.
The brothers are hoping Mother Nature goes easy on their operation this spring.
“I think we’re sitting a whole lot better than we were last year,” Andrew said.
Farmer Brad Rops agrees. His piece of land is just up the road.
“The hard part last year was not being able to care for the livestock like I needed to or wanted to,” Rops said.
That’s because the river plowed through his property several times. He’s optimistic right now that those days are behind us.
“We didn’t have any prolonged cold periods. We didn’t have, in this part of the state, that much snow. Snow’s gone. Last week the ice broke up on the river. It was six inches. We were well over a foot in thickness last year,” Rops said.
A good sign for three farmers who love what they do.
“Seeing baby calves and being able to run the planter and watch my brother on the combine. Reap the rewards you know. That’s the main thing,” Jason said.
A rewarding life they hope to maintain.
In tonight’s Eye on KELOLAND, we take a closer look at Brad Rops land to see how he’s building a new barrier to keep the water away from his home. We’ll also take you to the Huron area to check in on a multi-million dollar bridge project that’s been delayed several times because of flooding on the James River.