My heart is breaking for all of my friends in Southeast Missouri today. The Army Corps of Engineers decided last night to blast the Birds Point Levee in a two mile stretch to save the Illinois town of Cairo. In saving the town of approximately 2,800 people, over 130,000 acres of farmland was destroyed. Many have said blowing the levee at Birds Point was the “logical” decision because homes and lives would be destroyed if Cairo, or any town, flooded. Without a doubt there would have been devastation if Cairo flooded. Lives had to be saved, that is completely understood.
I hate the thought of anyone losing their home or business. No one wants to see another human lose their life or home or buisness, especially me. What breaks my heart is that 130,000 acres of productive farmland is now shattered. We can rebuild homes, businesses, and buildings, we do it all of the time after natural disasters or devastation. However, we CAN NOT rebuild this lost farmland as easily, Lowe’s and Home Depot do not sell DIRT by the acre. When the levee was destroyed last night, not only did my friends in Southeast Missouri lose their farms and everything their families had worked for generations to build, but we ALL lost a valuable resource that we can not replace.
As our population continues to grow so does the demand for food. That farmland produced a lot of food for our families and we were depending on it for generations to come.
This loss will be felt way beyond this year’s harvest or next year’s planting. Will the Army Corps of Engineers rebuild this levee? I sure hope so because if not, generations to come will feel this loss with higher food prices. This is a drop in the bucket though compared to what the farm families who owned that land have lost. Generations of family members have cared for that land, putting in many long hours and praying for a productive crop. Many sleepless nights were had wondering if a crop would be produced and if it would be enough to make the bank payment for the farm. I can only imagine their pain and devastation now that the land is ruined and I wish I could make it go away. Never again will their lives be the same. We can’t find more dirt to put on their fields, we can’t send volunteers to help plant those fields when the water is gone. It’s not that simple, some of that land will not be farmed again.
To my friends and fellow farmers in Southeast Missouri, I hope you can find a little comfort in knowing there are many prayers being said for you. May God be with you and bless your families during the difficult days that lie ahead. May your loss be a true benefit to others and I hope you find comfort in knowing lives were probably saved due to your loss.