Floods of 2008 Crop Decisions

Linda E. Fischer, CEED, Benton County

Problem Statement

Continual heavy rains and flooding in the spring and early summer of 2008 prevented timely planting for Benton County crop producers.  Crop producers needed help making replanting decisions and decisions related to crop insurance with delayed or no planting.  A local producer called requesting a meeting for local producers. 

Programmatic Response

One of ISU Extension’s strengths has been to respond in time of crisis.  The flooding of 2008 was a crisis for many Benton County crop producers.  At the request of a crop producer a meeting was organized, promoted, and held within four days on June 12th.  Local news papers, flyers faxed to all Ag businesses, and radio advertising on WMT were used to promote the meeting held in Vinton.  On June 10 and 11 Vinton would be devastated by the worst flood in history.  The North part of the county would be cut off from Vinton as Highway 150 was washed out.  When Vinton lost its power generation plant June 11th in the flood, the meeting still went on as scheduled in a darkened church sanctuary.  Forty two crop producers and one crop insurance agent attended the meeting. 

Jim Fawcett, Iowa State University Extension Field Agronomist discussed potential yields with delayed planting, replanting options, and cover crops for unplanted fields.  Jim Jensen, ISU Extension Farm Management Specialist talked about crop insurance concerns related to prevented planting, replanting, or changing crop plans.  Farm Service Agency shared what information they had regarding the disaster. 

Following the meeting Farm Service Agency and Natural Resource Conservation Service both requested that the information presented at the meeting be mailed to all farm operators in the county, especially the ISU Ag Decision Maker bulletin, File A1-57, Delayed and Prevented Planting Provisions.    A mailing to all 1087 farm operators in Benton County was completed with volunteer help and generated power the day after the meeting.  In addition, an ISU Extension news release on the topic was published in local news papers.


Verbal communication indicated the meeting and mailing had impacts.  One local crop insurance agent said the Ag Decision Maker piece was the best she had seen that explained how crop insurance coverage works with late, prevented, or replanting decisions.  At least three farmers told me that the information at the meeting and the mailings helped them make their decisions on replanting and whether to even plant.  For one producer it made his decision to plant his soybeans on July 1st rather than take prevented planting. 


100  Corn and Soybean Production and Protection

Page last updated: September 3, 2008
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu