Vilsack Meets With Farmers About Flooding

By: Ann McIntire, The Associated Press Email
By: Ann McIntire, The Associated Press Email

Although there's no water flowing into Pacific Junction yet, preparations are underway. About 30,000 sandbags sit downtown until they're needed. Kenny Booth is surrounding his home, a 100-year-old former schoolhouse, with a protective wall.

“I think we're about the only ones sandbagging except for businesses. Most people just moved out and we can't move so gotta do the next best thing, I guess.”

The Burlington Northern Railroad is building a berm and raising its rail line around the town and toward the river. Closer to the Missouri River, homes are already under threat from groundwater rising and the fields are already covered.

That's what brought about 50 farmers to Glenwood High School to hear what Vilsack had to say about help on the way.

“I really feel like what we're seeing here today isn't falling on deaf ears,” said Don Dilts, who farms about 1,500 acres north of Council Bluffs with 1,200 of those already underwater. “I think he understands it and is concerned about it.”

Through three generations, it's never flooded like this. Vilsack said crop insurance will cover the damage in the fields because it is not being deemed as a man-made disaster.

“The crop insurance will help, but you're talking about 70 percent of your income and we need about 90 to 95 percent to break even," said Dilts.

Vilsack is scheduled to attend a similar meeting Friday morning at the Marina Inn in South Sioux City, Nebraska.

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