Market News & Headlines >> Storm Damage Estimates Rise; Iowa Gets Federal Aid

The amount of Iowa farmland impacted by last Monday’s severe derecho with wind gusts exceeding 100 miles per hour, appears to have been higher than was initially estimated by state officials. 

The derecho, which swept from eastern Nebraska across Iowa and parts of Wisconsin and Illinois, impacted 37.7 million acres of farmland across the Midwest, including 13.8 million in Iowa, the Iowa Soybean Association (ISA) said on Friday, citing USDA estimates.   

USDA said the storm affected 8.18 million acres of corn and 5.64 million acres of soybeans in Iowa, according to the ISA. The state agriculture department last Tuesday had estimated a total of 10 million acres might have been impacted. The storm affected 58,000 holders of crop-insurance policies with a liability of around $6 billion in Iowa, including $1.86 billion for soybeans, the ISA said, citing data from the USDA's Risk Management Agency. 

The Risk Management Agency released the estimates to farm and commodity groups on Friday, ISA spokesman Aaron Putze told Reuters. He said the information was intended to encourage farmers to assess their losses and file claims for crop insurance. "We knew it was big, but it's bigger than we even anticipated it would be in terms of the acres it affected," Putze said. 

The agency has urged farmers to expedite the filing of loss claims, the ISA said. Claims are supposed to be filed within 72 hours of identifying losses, but allowances will be made for those suffering from disruptions in telephone and communications services, the farm group said. "USDA is standing by to help impacted producers and strongly encourage farmers and livestock producers who experienced losses or damage to contact their local USDA Service Center," Dirk Fillpot, a USDA spokesman told Reuters. 

President Trump on Monday morning declared Iowa a disaster area. "I've just approved an emergency declaration for Iowa, who had an incredible windstorm like probably they've never seen before," Trump said before he left Washington for a campaign trip to Minnesota and Wisconsin. "Really did a lot of damage." 

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds on Sunday filed a request for an expedited Presidential major disaster declaration, seeking $3.99 billion in aid, including $3.78 billion for agriculture losses, $100 million for private utilities, $82 million for homes and $45 million for public assistance.