WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on March 21 declared that a major disaster exists in Nebraska and ordered federal aid to supplement state, tribal and local recovery efforts in areas affected by a severe winter storm, straight-line winds and flooding beginning on March 9 and continuing.
Federal funding is available to affected people in the counties of Butler, Cass, Colfax, Dodge, Douglas, Nemaha, Sarpy, Saunders and Washington. Residents and business owners may apply for assistance by registering online at https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ or by calling (800) 621-3362 or (800) 462-7585.
The Nebraska Department of Agriculture has given preliminary estimated losses of $400 million to the livestock sector and $440 million in crop losses. The department expects delays in spring planting.
The preliminary estimates do not account for property losses, with examples being barns, buildings, corrals, fences, irrigation systems, etc., nor do they account for rebuilding infrastructure needed by agriculture, with examples being roads, bridges, etc., according to the Nebraska Farm Bureau.
Nebraska ranked third nationally in corn for grain production at 1,787,520,000 bus in 2018, according to the Nebraska Department of Agriculture. The state ranked first in beef and beef product exports at $1,264.7 million in 2017 and fifth in soybean exports at $1,352.5 million in 2017.
Ardent Mills, Denver, on March 21 said its grain elevator in Fremont, Nebraska, was still operating despite recent widespread flooding in eastern Nebraska.
“All of the grain housed at the elevator remains safe and dry,” Ardent Mills said. “An assessment of the facility early in the week found flood impacts restricted only to `boot pits’ located adjacent to the elevator structure. This was quickly resolved with short-term pumping. Safety is a core value at Ardent Mills. Fremont area residents are reminded to take every precaution, both at home and work, as they deal with the aftermath of the flooding.”
Hamburg, Iowa, which is near the Missouri river that serves as the Nebraska border, also was flooded. Manildra Group USA, Leawood, Kansas, operates Manildra Milling Hamburg. Its plant was directly affected, said Neal Bassi, president of Manildra Group USA.
“Pictures do not do justice to the total devastation we have seen in Hamburg,” Bassi said March 21. “Hundreds of people have been displaced or have lost their homes. The Manildra team has really come together to support each other throughout this disaster.
“The water has begun to recede, and our contingency plans are in place. Aside from the need to keep our employees and customers content, our focus is on the levee. For us to continue to be successful the levee must be rebuilt to a higher level. We are working closely with the city of Hamburg to support those efforts.”