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USDA: No plans to survey amount of grain lost in Midwest floods

USDA will not collect information on the volume of harvested grain lost due to flooding.

Water Fills The Fields After A Levee Breaks In Pacific Junction,
Christopher Boswell |

Farmers and ranchers from the Dakotas to Missouri were hit hard when floods damaged their operations in March. While ongoing clean up continues and producers try to rebound from the devastation physically (burst grain bins, destroyed barns, etc.) and financially, reports have surfaced that say the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will not collect information on the amount of harvested grain lost when farms were damaged.

Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri estimate losses at more than $3 billion.

According to a Successful Farming report, Lance Honig, crops branch chief of the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, said the organization has no plans of gathering anything on the grain that is gone.

However, the report said “the figures in the USDA’s regular quarterly stocks report for June will reflect losses due to flooding as well as from more typical usage by processors, exporters and livestock feeders over the preceding three months.”

Honig said accurately surveying the amount of grain lost in the floods would be a difficult task.

Some reports have suggested that, due to flooding and the water damage left to fields, farmers may be forced to plant more soybeans.

ADM feels impact of flooding

Commodity trader Archer Daniels Midland Co. (ADM) said its first quarter results are likely to be negatively affected by weather woes.

“Extreme winter weather has affected our first quarter North American operations beyond what we would experience in a typical winter,” the company said in a statement.

A previous report said: “In March, powerful snow and rain storms early in the month and resulting flooding and its after-effects are affecting both Carbohydrates Solutions and Origination operations. Rail transportation has been disrupted throughout the region; our corn processing complex in Columbus, Nebraska, was idled due to flooding and currently is running at reduced rates; and unfavorable river conditions since December are severely limiting barge transportation movements and port activities.”

The company, which reported fourth quarter net earnings of $315 million in February, said it expects a negative profit impact of $50 million to $60 million as a result of recent weather events.

Farm group asks for help

A group of 135 farm organizations and banks that supply seasonal loans to farms and ranches on April 19 called on President Donald Trump and Congress to put aside political differences and supply urgently needed relief in the wake of weather-related disasters in 2018 and 2019.

In addition to the floods, hurricanes, wildfires, droughts and other natural disasters devastated agricultural regions across the nation.

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