Types of Farm Disasters




    Most floods occur when an excess of precipitation falls that bodies of water (such as streams, lakes, and rivers) rise and overflow their banks. Sometimes predicted, floods can also occur when ground water rises over time and there is no where else for it to go.

    When flooded, each farm will be damaged in relation to the nature of its operation. In general, however, some of the following damage will occur:

      *In the short term, crops planted for the season may drown and die. The short-term affect of the loss of crops is loss of income for flooded fields, and, if the producer usually saves the seed, the loss of seed for next year's crop, requiring an expense next season.

      *In addition, forage crops and grasses in pasturelands may be killed, preventing the producer from efficiently and inexpensively feeding livestock.

      *Livestock may be able to take care of themselves during a flood. Large animals tend to do well, particularly if they are able to get to high ground. Smaller animals such as pigs or poultry are more likely to be killed, especially if they are trapped, depending on the severity of the flood, forecasting a need for replacement costs.

      *Expensive agricultural equipment such as combines, harvesters, and tractors are damaged with water, requiring repair and replacement.

      *Buildings such as poultry houses or barns, equipment storage sheds, and silos are inundated with water, requiring the repair or replacement of the buildings and their contents.

      *In addition to community infrastructure, farm infrastructure such as driveways, paddocks, fencing, and work areas are severely damaged in a flood, and will require repair.

      *Soils are primary in all agriculture. The top 6 to 8 inches of soil determine the ability of crops to grow and ultimately the value of the farm itself. In a flood, soils are severely damaged when plant nutrients are leached out of the soil, silts and sands washed onto their surface, forming a crust through which seedlings have difficulty growing.

      Worst, erosion-loss of precious topsoils -- occurs due to the flow of water over them. The structure of agricultural soils is especially ruined in a spring flood, when there may be no crop in the field to hold soil.

      *In the long term, repair and replacement costs to an indebted agricultural producer can place the farm family in peril of severe financial woes.

      *A rural community's once-pristine natural environment suffers damage when eroding soils wash into streams, carrying with them nutrients, pesticides, debris and other pollutants. Valuable wildlife areas may be compromised.

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