Now as they watch the new lakes that overtook their property slowly recede, having a painfully long time to reflect:
Across parts of the Midwest, hundreds of livestock are drowned or stranded; valuable unsold, stored grain is ruined in submerged storage bins;
"I would say 50% of the farmers in our area will not recover from this," Dustin Sheldon, a farmer in southwestern Iowa's flood-devastated Fremont County near the swollen Missouri River, said this week. ” data-src-mini=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190321071513-02-midwest-flooding-march-2019-small-169.jpg” data-src-xsmall=”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190321071513-02-midwest-flooding-march-201
He was trying to move his animals when the waters started rising last week. Within 30 minutes, we had over 2 feet of water coming through the front child, and just swells were coming, and we barely made it out of here, "leaving most of the animals behind, he told WOWT.
The fate of other animals is a mystery. Sheldon, the Iowa farmer, said Wednesday he knows of six facilities holding about 3,000 pigs each – and one was immediately able to reach the flooded buildings to see how the livestock fared.
Rescue groups have tried to help in some cases .
Over the weekend, Iowan Scott Shehan crossed state lines to help ferry donkeys and ponies to dry land. One of his Facebook videos, rescuers used a makeshift floating platform – pushed by an airboat – to get a pony out of Sycamore Farms in Waterloo, Nebraska, on Sunday.
At least one donkey was found dead there, he said.
"Nobody could plan for this," Shehan, co-owner of Lusco Farms Rescue, told CNN.
Beyond livestock, crop loss – both harvested and not yet planted – will weigh heavily on farmers.
In Iowa's Fremont County, Sheldon's farm supports three families. Floodwaters got into their bins, ruining about 75% to 80% of their stored crop.
Estimates that are hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue lost – money that now can support the families or pay the farm's expenses.
Farmers commonly store the harvest and sell portions throughout the year, sometimes to wait for better prices in the spring. Losing it is devastating.
"In 2011, we thought we had the 500-year flood – the Noah's Ark of all floods," Sheldon, who is also the Fremont County supervisor, told CNN. "We didn't file bankruptcy, but we went to some really tough times on the money side.
" It took every dime or money our family had to put the country back into production at the level it was. Here are eight years later, we are right back to square one. "