Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey has been touring flood-ravaged farm fields around the state and he’s been encouraged by the performance of conservation measures. "Overall, those places where practices have been put on the ground they controlled the erosion a lot better, they held the water back…and they look pretty good," Northey says. "…Although we’ve done a lot of work, we’ve got more work to do out there."
Despite the best conservation measures like grass waterways and terraces, the deluge of rain has just swamped acres and acres of planted ground. If things dry out, some farmers may be able to get back in the field and plant beans. Northey’s urging farmers to use caution. "They’re liable to get stuck. You’re liable to work late night. You’re laying under a piece of equipment in ways that you’re in a hurry. We want everybody to be careful as they do this as well," Northey says. "I’ve heard of folks that had challenges in pulling vehicles out of mud and it’s very easy to get hurt in those circumstances and we need folks to think about taking care of themselves while they’re working to get their crop in."
Northey toured farm fields in the Creston area Friday. Official weather records show 10 and a half inches of rain has fallen in the city of Creston so far this month. "We have a lot of fields yet in this state that are not planted. We have about two percent of the corn — which doesn’t sound like a lot, but in Iowa that still mounts up — that have not been planted; about 14 percent of the soybeans that have not been planted. Then we’ve have been drowned out," Northey says. "About seven percent of the corn, six percent of the soybeans have been drowned out."
Northey was elected Iowa Secretary of Agriculture in 2006; he still farms in Spirit Lake.