River flooding impacts farmland in Jackson County - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

River flooding impacts farmland in Jackson County

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JACKSON CO. (WSIL) — Flood waters in Jackson County cause even more problems for farmers already struggling with a wet planting season.

A large portion of farmland is under water due to the swelling Mississippi River nearby.  

Some have been able to plant a portion of their expected crop, but others haven’t been able to plant or even walk their fields because of all the water that’s out by the Degognia-Fountain Bluff levee.  

Alan Neuhaus of Neuhaus Farms was able to get his corn crop completely planted, but he considers himself lucky.

His farm is on relatively high ground near the levee in the unincorporated town of Raddle, but his neighbors aren’t so lucky.

“Well normally, its a soybean field,” Neuhaus said of the field across the street from his farm. “Starting about now is about the time it usually dries up enough that we can be out planting in it.”

Neuhaus planted his entire corn crop this year, a rarity for farmers this season in Illinois, but he said things were much more difficult with all of the rain

“Very much so, that was a definite possibly,” Neuhaus said when asked about if he was concerned he’d get his full corn crop planted this year. “We’re just lucky enough and we worked some long hours and got the rest of it in.”

State officials are actively working on an emergency agriculture order due to farmer’s struggles this year in Illinois.

John Sullivan, director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture, said that work is still in its early stages and there’s several factors that play into getting assistance from the state and federal government.

“First of all, and I think probably most importantly, is we don’t know the extent of this disaster at this point,” Sullivan said.

Neuhaus said he has taken steps to protect his farm from additional flooding, including taking his equipment to higher ground.

“When it finally dries out again, we’ll do what we can do,” Neuhaus said.

He’s worried about how often the river keeps flooding, though.

“Will they become more severe as well? Will the water levels actually be higher? Will they keep trending higher and more frequent? That’s kind of unknown,” Neuhaus said.

The National Weather Service expects the river to crest Sunday at the observation point in Chester, but it’ll stick around 46 feet for a couple days before it’s expected to start falling.

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