Gallatin County farmers prepare for flooding - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Gallatin County farmers prepare for flooding

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GALLATIN COUNTY (WSIL) -- Nearly 15,000 acres of farmland in Gallatin County is expected to be washed out next week when the Ohio River crests on June 25.

One of the farmers who will be impacted is Jason Bosaw. He's been farming his entire life, and has around 13,000 acres of soy beans and corn. 

"It’s been tough (planting season) but we haven’t struggled as much as say other farmers across the United States from what we’ve been hearing," he says. 

His neighbor, and fellow farmer, Steve Galt agrees. Galt is also the county's Emergency Management Coordinator. 

"When everybody else was having problems getting planted, Gallatin County was kind of a green spot," Galt says. "A lot of corn got planted, a lot of beans. The country is probably 98 percent planted."

That's until a few days ago when it became apparent that the Ohio River would crest at 36.6 feet. 

Bosaw has a levee built around his land that protects to a river height of 30 feet, but the water will top that, and destroy around 2,000 acres of crops. 

Instead of allowing the water to go up and over the levee next week, he flooded those crops. 

"It’s going to get six foot over the levee that I have," Bosaw explains. "It's inevitable that we're going to lose it, so I wanted to minimize the damage." 

Bosaw says the rushing water could have built up and destroyed his levee, "It just takes a lot of the pressure off your levee and won't cut it into two. So if I keep my levees, they’ll be good for next year." 

Galt says other farmers are pumping water out and trying to build their levees up.

He adds that it can be difficult to see hard work destroyed, "As a farmer it's awful aggravating to plant, and let it come, and get drowned."

However, Bosaw says it's just a way of life for some farmers along the Ohio River, "If you farm in the bottoms, get used to it. That's what happens."

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