The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation, the state’s largest farm organization, last week launched the Farming Community Disaster Exchange. It’s a way Iowans can help other Iowans impacted by the flooding this spring — or where flood victims can seek assistance.
At IowaFarmBureau.com/floods, Iowans can offer goods and services to those who need it most, says Craig Hill, IFBF president.
“As Iowans fight their way through this $2 billion devastation, it’s important to keep the lines of communication open, and that’s what we are offering through our online exchange,” he says. “We’ve had calls from around the country from folks willing to donate goods and services. This exchange is a way to connect those people with farmers and Iowans in need, as a result of flooding.”
Assistance for today, future
It’s not just for what people need right now, such as assistance for cleanup, hay for their livestock or fresh water for their homes if their wells were contaminated. But it will help meet future needs too.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, flooding may peak again once snowmelts make their way down river. Other needs such as sump pumps or heavy excavation equipment to move sand off their flooded fields may also be needed.
The latest damage estimates from IFBF crop experts show the areas impacted are more extensive than the 2011 Missouri River flooding, where more than 127,000 crop acres were lost.
This year’s planting challenges may not be the only thing impacting agriculture. “Iowa livestock farmers are also having a tough time navigating flood-damaged roads to feed their animals or to take them to market. Maybe their trucks got stuck in the mud or their tractors got damaged from floods. All these challenges can also be opportunities for Iowans to embrace the ‘see-a-need, fill-a-need’ approach, which will help us all get through this,” Hill says.
Flooding impact more widespread
IFBF, founded a century ago on the premise of helping rural Iowans weather the challenges of farming, is donating $35,000 for flood relief efforts to help manage the immediate needs of Missouri River flood victims. The donation includes $20,000 to the Red Cross and $15,000 to the Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Fund.
“Farmers are known for coming together in times of crisis, and the flooding going on in southwest Iowa and for our neighbors to the west is no exception,” Hill says. “Our members are proud to do what we can and show our community, neighbors and friends that we are there for them, in every way.”
One of those ways includes advocating for federal assistance. IFBF members were in Washington the last week in March meeting with Iowa’s congressional delegation about Farm Bureau priorities and disaster assistance.
Coordinating flood information
In addition to funds to help emergency responders get the materials and assistance they need, IFBF is coordinating information for people in Iowa who may not know what assistance is out there or where to start.
Guidance is offered on managing flooded grain, livestock information, safety information for homeowners, tips for keeping food and water safe during a flood, information on filing claims for insurance, and links to help flood victims find stress relief during this time of crisis.
“Our goal is making sure our members know they are not alone. Help is required. And for Iowans who want to roll up their sleeves and do the work that is needed, they can find out where their talents are needed. The ability for Iowans to come together and help each other is just a click away,” Hill says.