Fishing in a flooded field for corn

Local News

YANKTON, S.D. (KELO) – Agriculture is one of South Dakota’s leading industries — contributing more than $32 billion to the economy each year. But this year, the trade war and weather are hitting the industry especially hard. Spring floods followed by one rain storm after another prevented many farmers from planting all of their fields.

Those who were able to get crops in — saw some of their fields flooded within the last last week, and now may have a hard time getting the crops out. In parts of Yankton County, the James River has reached record levels and spilled out of its banks.

While this is a trying time for those in the industry, some are trying to take a more humorous approach to the situation.

The field belongs to the Kokes family. To deal with a negative situation, Jason Kokes and his friend Steven Vellek decided to have some fun and take a kayak out. Instead of reeling in fish, they’re fishing for corn.

“It was my idea to bring the fishing pole along and said see what kind of humor we can do today and then we also had some ears of corn as well that we picked from a different field because there was no way we could have got down to the ears of corn here, so we grabbed them on the way over,” owner of Jackrabbit Seed, Steven Vellek said.

But that’s not all. Last week Jason took pictures beforeā€¦

And after the flood hit. You can barely see the flag sticking above the water at about 10 feet.

“Monday, which was right after the crest, we went out and we found one of the flags which was about half a mile straight east of where we’re standing now, and if we look to the southeast, we had another flag out that was three quarters of a mile away from here and that was completely underwater as well as the corn, we couldn’t find anything,” farmer, Jason Kokes said.

This family’s field isn’t the only one that looks like this. Plenty of other farmers are in this same boat.

“Chances are the corn that’s been underwater, it’s not going to make it, it’s probably going to tip over, if there’s any salvage out of it, we will try to the best we can, but after the water level goes down, clean up the debris and move on, just like everybody else,” farmer, Jim Kokes said.

Leaving Kokes not letting floodwater drown his spirits.

“We don’t want to downplay anybody’s losses or anything that happened, but on Monday even though something bad happens you still have to go out and enjoy yourself and have some fun and have some laughs just to keep your sanity,” Jason Kokes said.

Jason Kokes says the water has dropped to about five feet. His dad, Jim says their hay meadow that was next to the corn field had about 300 bales in it. Those floated away when the flood hit.

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