Initial Recovery:

Returning to the farm after a flood. Disaster recovery can be as dangerous as the disaster itself, especially on farms and ranches where machinery and equipment, livestock, and agricultural chemicals are displaced and co-mingled. Recommendations from

Repairing flood-damaged fieldsLessons learned from the 2011 Missouri River flood in Nebraska and Iowa offer valuable information for growers initiating recovery measures for the 2019 flood.

Salvaging flood-damaged agricultural buildings and farmstead considerations. How to assess flood damage to the interior and exterior of farm buildings, including what to look for now and what could weaken the structure or cause health concerns later.

Flooding and stored grain. This Iowa State University Extension resource offers recommendations for salvaging as much quality stored grain as possible and how to dispose of contaminated grain.

Grain vacuum services/rentals/suppliersKey points for managing stored grain that may have been contaminated by flood waters and a list of businesses providing grain vacuuming services or equipment to safely remove clean, unaffected grain from a bin.

Management recommendations for irrigation equipment affected by flooding. As waters drain and soils dry out, check irrigation systems for damage and perform maintenance/repairs before using them. Here’s what to check in your power unit, irrigation well, and center pivot. is a central resource for Nebraska Extension information on crop production and pest management, including flood and storm damage information when the need arises. See for the most recent articles.

Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality Flood Resources, including 

Pesticide Safety. Pesticides pose a special concern during floods. Learn how to protect your farm and what to do in case of problems:

USDA Disaster Programs

FSA Disaster Set-Aside Program

When Farm Service Agency (FSA) borrowers located in designated disaster areas or contiguous (adjoining) counties are unable to make their scheduled payment on any FSA debt, FSA is authorized to consider seta side of one payment to allow the operation to continue. This program is authorized under Section 331A of the Consolidated Farm and Rural Development Act.

Designation and Notification. The first time in a calendar year that a county in which a borrower farms, or a contiguous county, is designated as a disaster area by the president or secretary of agriculture, farmers indebted to FSA will be notified of the availability of the Disaster Set-Aside Program (DSA).

Application. Borrowers have eight months from the date of designation to apply. Please see this FSA Factsheet for information on completing a DSA application.

RMA Prevent Planting Insurance Provision

Prevented planting is the failure to plant an insured crop with the proper equipment by the final planting date or during the late planting period. You must be prevented from planting by an insured cause of loss that is general to the surrounding area and that prevents other producers from planting acreage with similar characteristics.

  • Final planting dates and late planting periods vary by crop and by area.

FSA Emergency Farm Loans

Emergency loan funds may be used to:

  • restore or replace essential property;
  • pay all or part of production costs associated with the disaster year;
  • pay essential family living expenses;
  • reorganize the farming operation; and
  • refinance certain debts.

Eligibility. Please see these FSA resources for further information on qualifications for these loans.

Additional Resources

USDA Farm Service Agency programs are available to assist with the impact and recovery from the floods. including the

Post-Flood Information for Planted Fields.  When heavy rains lead to flooding and standing water in fields, these resources can aid in assessment of crop damage and help inform important decision-making for the remainder of the season.

Alfalfa Killed by Floods or Winter Conditions. Alfalfa that went into winter in good shape may tolerate up to a couple weeks of flooding; however, it will have a difficult time emerging through more than two inches of sediment.

Flooding and Ponding in Corn. Ponding or flooding of fields affects corn differently at different stages, depending on the duration of flooding and other factors. Growers should assess the potential for nitrogen loss and increase scouting for corn disease in these fields.

Flooding and Ponding in Soybeans. Soybean plants are generally able to withstand a fair amount of flooding in the short term; however, diseases favored by wet conditions may become a problem for the rest of the season. Research shows the length of time the soil is wet and the type of soil will affect plant injury and survival

Flood Recovery Checklists for Farmsteads (NDSU). North Dakota State University Flood Information

Floods and Your Crops — Iowa State University Center for Food Security & Public Health

Floods and Your Farm — Iowa State University Center for Food Security & Public Health