Last week’s derecho has left more than just a trail of destruction in its path. Unlike a typical midday thunderstorm, the derecho had wind speeds up to 100 mph and spread damage over 770 miles in 14 hours. Now, farmers and agronomist alike are trying to determine not only the structural damage, but also damage done to crops across multiple states.
While most farmers are left to clean up the mess, they are also waiting to see what the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service has to say about the damaged acres. NASS is the federal statistical agency responsible for producing official data about U.S. agriculture. NASS’s August Crop Production report was published two days after the derecho and did not account for the damage caused by the recent storm.
In a statement NASS said, “Corn and soybeans in Iowa have been particularly impacted by the recent derecho. USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will collect harvested acreage information for both crops in Iowa in preparation for the September 11 Crop Production report. These additional data will help to better assess the full impact. If the newly collected data justifies any changes, NASS will publish updated harvested acreage estimates in the September report.”
In Iowa alone, the USDA Risk Management Agency reports 57 counties were in the path of the storm. Within those 57 counties, there are approximately 14 million acres of insured crops. This includes 8.2 million acres of corn and 5.6 million acres of soybeans that may have been impacted by the storm.
The Iowa Department of Agriculture has been consulting with commercial co-ops, industry representatives, farmers and landowners to estimate the amount of grain storage lost after the derecho’s high winds shredded grain bins as it moved through the state. Several cooperatives located in central and east-central Iowa are reporting sites damaged by the derecho. Early estimates indicate more than 57 million bushels of permanently-licensed grain storage was seriously damaged or destroyed. The co-ops estimate it will cost more than $300 million to remove, replace or repair the damaged grain storage bins.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds formally requested an expedited Presidential Major Disaster Declaration for Iowa communities and counties. The request estimated Iowa would need $3,998,010,354 from federal partners to recover from this unprecedented event. Yesterday, President Donald Trump approved an emergency declaration for Iowa.
The USDA also announced the availability of assistance for agricultural producers in the Midwest affected by the recent severe weather to help eligible farmers and ranchers reestablish their operations.