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Iowa farmers, agriculture industry in ‘uncharted territory’ with derecho recovery

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 11:31 PM CDT
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MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - Iowa’s agriculture secretary said the state’s farmers and agricultural industry are in “unchartered territory” in storm recovery, and they might not know the full extent of derecho damage until the harvest next month.

Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig met with about two dozen farmers from the area at a farm in Marion on Wednesday afternoon to hear their concerns and questions about recovery.

Early estimates indicated about 10 million acres of farmland across the state sustained damage from the derecho, with Naig adding that between 3.5 million and 4 million acres of corn were severely damaged.

Naig said a lot of the questions he’s heard over the last week-and-a-half are about how the crop insurance process will work, as farmers wait for adjusters to come to their fields, and about figuring out what can be salvaged and harvested this fall.

That becomes more complicated because of estimates that the storm damaged or destroyed more than 100 million bushels of grain storage, which can’t be rebuilt in time for the harvest, according to Naig.

“That’s just a compounding issue for folks,” he said. “We’ve got a challenge around what’s in the field, a challenge around getting what’s out there harvested, and then, what do you do with what you harvest. And so that’s an issue that really will impact — we’re already dealing with some storage shortages as we came into this fall, and this just amplifies that even more.”

Naig said he’s in communication with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Secretary Sonny Perdue, conveying Iowa farmers’ concerns and advocating for assistance.

He said many of these farmers were already hurting because of supply chain disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic.

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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