Farmers in SEMO in rush to beat rising Mississippi River

By Josh Harvison - bio | email

HAYTI, MO (KAIT) - Farmers in southeast Missouri told Region 8 News Monday they are rushing to get crops out of the fields. In Hayti, farmers are racing to get crops out of the ground before the Mississippi River is expected to crest Friday. According to Baughn Meredith, the river is expected to crest at 32.5 feet, putting several county roads and farmland under water.

"The river is running us off of our crop land. It's coming up pretty quick and it gets a pretty stressful when that situation happens," said Meredith. "We are trying to thrash these beans to beat the water."

Meredith said the river will force some farmers off their land. Some parts of farmland would be fine, but the roads to get onto the land will be under water.

"The places where we need to be thrashing or harvesting, they were later getting planted because we had to wait until the river got off," said Meredith.

Meredith said he may lose 50 acres of the 950 acres of land on one side of the levee. He said he has another 1,000 acres on the 'safe side'.

"At 29 feet, it starts running in. At 32 feet, it starts backing into the slews and at 35 feet, where we're standing here, is all under water," said Baughn. "Between 32.5 feet and 35 feet, it makes a whole lot of difference on where you are on this (Black) island."

"If we get another weather system like we had the last three weeks, this thing could change overnight," said Baughn.

Paul Maclin has also been farming in southeast Missouri for 30 years. According to Maclin, he's expecting to lose nearly 50 acres of farmland to high water.

"Our largest problem is that the roads are going to be cut off at 29 feet to 29.5 feet, so we've got to get these crops out before the water gets over the road," said Maclin.

Maclin said Bunge Corporation, which is a company that offloads a farmer's yield, has opened doors for business after hours. He said the sheriff's department has been keeping bystanders off their land while they harvest.

"There are about 20 combines out here today and a bunch of the beans will be wrapping up today and tomorrow," said Maclin. "We're supposed to have three or four days of good harvesting. If we get that, that'll help us a lot."

Maclin said this year has been unlike any other.

"We went into an extremely wet year late, then it went dry and then we started experiencing a lot of rain. Then come harvest time, we were a month late starting the harvest. We had the wettest October we've ever had in history," said Maclin. "The yields are really great this year. The weather has been a big factor against us all year from replanting and replanting, but if it wasn't for the yields being good, we'd really be in trouble."

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