Floods Dampen Farmers' Expectations for a Good Crop

HANCOCK COUNTY -- We've seen home and business owners this week devastated by flooding. But the high water has also taken its toll on area farmers, News 11's Dick Berry reports.

In the farms around Hancock County, there's vivid evidence of last week's flooding. It comes less than a month after crops were shriveling up in the ground. No damage estimate yet, but for some farmers, this year's harvest could be more bust than bountiful.

Green fields have turned brown from the flood water, which moved in and then drained out. Now, crops belonging to farmers like Marvin Tuttle are smothered with mud.

"It will probably kill the plants. They won't yield as much. We don't know what trash may be out in the field," Tuttle said.

The Hancock County Extension Office reports there will be a 10 percent loss of crops from flooding. That's approximately22,000 acres. Farmers have been socked with a one-two punch this year: first a severe drought and now this.

"Unfortunately, '07 is going to be remembered as the year of the flood but also the year of the drought. We've probably had three quarters of our county severely hurt by the drought. Already cut corn yields 30-40 percent," said Hancock County Extension Agent Gary Wilson.

Farming, though, is all about location as Tom Wagner will tell you. A foot of rain fell on his crops. The result?

"My end of the county is high enough. Where a lot of the creeks and streams actually start and flow this direction towards Findlay. We had minimal flooding," Wilson said.

But Marvin and Linda Tuttle are certain of one thing. "We're not going to have a good year. Hopefully we'll pay the loans back," Linda said.

At this point, no disaster assistance is available to farmers. But help could be on the way.

"Farmers need to keep current with farm service agencies, and we'll hopefully be able to get something to them," Wilson said.

Posted by KO