0811ASAFloodingMeetingssr.cfm ASA leader meets with flood-impacted farmers
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ASA leader meets with flood-impacted farmers

American Soybean Association Vice President Ray Gaesser was part of a group of Iowa Soybean Association representatives that met on Aug. 5, with farmers from Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Missouri about the devastating flooding that has taken place along the Missouri River this year. ISA organized and hosted the meeting in Hamburg, Iowa, in an effort to get farmers' ideas on how the state and national associations can provide assistance with these types of disasters.

"Many of the concerns of the farmers were their near-term need for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to officially say that they will rebuild the levees," Gaesser said. "Without that statement, crop insurance will be very difficult and very expensive to get."

The farmers are also concerned with who sets the pool levels for the Missouri River reservoirs and how those decisions could have increased the devastation that resulted from the flooding.

"The capacity of the reservoirs of the Missouri River basin is about 75 million acre-feet," Gaesser explained. (One acre-foot of water is equivalent to 325,851 gallons of water.) "The historic pool level has been 36 million acre-feet, but recently it was established that it could be maintained at 57 million acre-feet, leaving only about 25 percent of capacity for flood control. So the farmers expressed concern about how that number was established, what the criteria were for changing it and why it was done."

The group is also seeking a stay on implementing the Missouri River Master Water Control Manual that guides the Corps operation of dams and reservoirs, and a moratorium on the Corps buying land for flood mitigation until pool level issues are resolved.

"The farmers we met with are afraid that the media will forget them and that legislators will forget them," Gaesser said. "The soybean associations, state and national, have an opportunity to address those needs, share those concerns with legislators and regulators, and exchange information with farmers up and down the river so they have more and better information and can make business decisions for their future."

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