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Rain doesn’t dampen tenacity of rural Iowans

Hamburg, Iowa flooding

Farmers have been overcome by flooding and ongoing rains, and with one in five jobs tied to agriculture in the state, other businesses are feeling the impact, too. Hamburg, in particular, has been hammered. Heavy rains in Iowa and Nebraska once again threaten the small town, as the Missouri and Nishnabotna continue to rise. The photos above capture some of the devastation in Hamburg and the surrounding area. 

But many Hamburg residents, like Tyler Woodward (also pictured above), aren’t giving up.

For Woodward, the third-generation operator of Woodward Seeds, it’s been a very tough year. “Unfortunately, our business is located in one of the lowest parts of Hamburg,” said Woodward. “So, the water was at about 10 feet in the building.” Woodward lost his supply of soybeans but managed to truck the seed corn to a safe location. Added to that, with so many fields under water, farmers are not buying seed. Woodward’s seed business is down by almost 75 percent.

Woodward has been busy cleaning and rebuilding the business, using a generator until they get power back. “It would be too expensive to relocate,” said Woodward. “Even if we could move the buildings, we couldn’t afford the cost of new concrete.”

Woodward knows some of the residents will not return to Hamburg, where almost all the businesses were affected by the flooding. But he expects to be back in business by the end of the summer.

“Hamburg is full of strong-willed people who won’t give up until the disaster is behind us. It’s going to be a long tough road to get back to normal, but I’m sure we will get there,” he said.

To donate supplies or services to help Hamburg residents and other flood victims, visit the Farming Community Disaster Exchange at https://www.iowafarmbureau.com/farmer-resources/flood-Assistance/farming-community-disaster-exchange.

By Gary Fandel. Gary is a photographer and writer for Iowa Farm Bureau.



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