Flooding can have many impacts to homes, businesses, livestock, and crops. There are resources to prepare for flooding and for those affected by floodwaters.A soybean field flooded out

Reducing Flooding Impacts to Farms, Businesses, & Other Ag Facilities

Producers and business owners can take the following precautions to protect their operations.

Ag Chemical Facilities

Anhydrous Ammonia

  • Move anhydrous ammonia nurse tanks and other equipment out of the flood zone.
  • Drain line and remove pumps and other system components.
  • Lock and protect tank valves.
  • Have plan to move product out and ship to terminal or other storage facility.
  • Turn power to ammonia system off when unattended.
  • Secure storage tanks to prevent movement or damage by flood waters.

Bulk Dry Fertilizer

  • Construct barriers at flood water entrances to prevent water from entering bins.
  • Delay shipments or temporarily move product to higher ground.

Bulk Liquid Fertilizers or Pesticides

  • Lock and protect valves.
  • Close and lock site gauge valves on bulk fertilizer storage tanks.
  • Inventory all stored products.
  • Accelerate or postpone shipments.

Small Packaged Pesticide Containers

  • Keep containers off the floor and secured.
  • Inventory products.
  • Move grain fumigants to an area outside the flood zone.
  • Move products to an area protected from flood waters and away from drains.
  • Postpone incoming shipments.

Dairies

  • Contact your dairy plant for additional milk storage.
  • Contact your milk hauler for alternate route and pick-up plan.
  • Secure adequate feed supplies.
  • Relocate feed supplies to protect from flooding.
  • Relocate calf hutches to high ground.
  • Protect well from floodwater or secure an alternate supply of safe water.
  • Have back-up generators available in case of persisting power outages.
  • Install additional sump or trash pump for parlor pit.
  • Install spill containment kit to keep flood water out of milkhouse and other key areas.
  • Divert drainage by adding shallow diversion ditches so the runoff water flows around the cow yard.

Food & Dairy Processing Plants, Grocery Stores & Warehouses

  • Update all emergency telephone numbers.
  • Check your flood insurance.
  • Keep employees informed of all plans and review their responsibilities.
  • Maintain emergency lighting.
  • Have back-up generators available in case of longer term power outages.
  • Ensure emergency shutoffs for refrigeration and other systems are in a protected location.
  • Protect your well from floodwaters or secure an alternate supply of safe water.
  • Identify ways to divert floodwater away from the facility, if possible.
  • Update emergency contact list for contractors and utilities.
  • Identify alternate storage facilities such as public storage, refrigerated trailers, or storage buildings.
  • If flooding is predicted and time allows for safe removal, relocate food, supplies, and equipment to alternate storage.
  • Locate main gas and electrical shutoffs.
  • Protect records. Back up computer records and programs for vulnerable equipment and store in a safe, dry location.
  • Use plugs to prevent floodwater from backing up in sewer drain.
  • Have alternate means of communication available such as cellular phones or battery-operated radios.

Grain Facilities

  • Take proactive and protective action. Consider sandbagging and moving grain to unused bins that are less likely to flood. If flooding is inevitable, move grain to a safe location.
  • Grain that is threatened by flooding may be moved to sites that have not been pre-approved by inspectors. Notify the MDA that grain has been moved to temporary storage facilities once the transfer has taken place. Inspections of the temporary storage sites may be conducted after the fact to ensure that the grain has been safely and securely stored. Grain must be returned to approved storage facilities once the danger of flooding has passed.
  • A similar plan should be used for warehouses storing general merchandise.
  • The MDA is available to help elevator managers arrange for suitable temporary storage and solve flooding problems on a case-by-case basis.
  • Keep in mind that grain that has become adulterated due to exposure to floodwater may not be used for hu-man food or animal feed.

Retail Food Establishments

If your food business has been impacted by flooding, use these checklists as you work to recover:

Report an Incident

An agricultural chemical incident, a food or feed incident, or a plant or animal health emergency must be reported to the Minnesota Duty Officer at 800-422-0798 (available 24 hours). You can also call the Duty Officer to request state assistance. If there is an immediate threat to life or property, call 911 first.

Private Well Contamination

If you get your drinking water from a private well and are experiencing flooding, assume your well is contaminated. Water from your well should not be used for drinking, cooking, or brushing your teeth until the floodwater recedes. The Minnesota Department of Health has resources to help protect your water from becoming contaminated and advice if your well has been impacted by floodwaters. A licensed well contractor should disinfect your well – or complete the disinfection yourself – if floodwaters reached or covered your well.

Impacts to Crops and Livestock

Flooded Fields

Heavy rains can flood fields or create saturated conditions. While floodwaters can kill off a crop, standing water can also create disease and pest issues. The University of Minnesota Extension has information on crops that are exposed to prolonged periods of high soil moisture.

On-farm Grain Storage

Take proactive steps to protect stored grain. Consider sandbagging and moving grain to unused bins that are less likely to flood. If flooding is inevitable, move grain to a safe location.

The University of Minnesota Extension has resources if you experience flooded grain bins on your farm. 

Livestock

Producers should monitor conditions before floodwaters enter barns and other enclosed livestock areas. If producers need help or other resources to move livestock, contact your local county emergency managers or local county feedlot officer.

Producers who experience livestock deaths in excess of normal mortality or sell injured livestock at a reduced price may be eligible for the USDA Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP). Meanwhile, the USDA Emergency Assistance for Livestock, Honeybees, and Farm-Raised Fish Program (ELAP) provides eligible producers with compensation for feed and grazing losses.

Manure Management

If your manure storage facility has the potential to overflow, contact the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) to reduce the potential for manure contamination to streams, rivers, and lakes. You may also call your local county feedlot officer. If your manure storage facility overflows, you must contact the Minnesota Duty Officer at 800-422-0798.

Financial Assistance and Support

Rural Finance Authority Disaster Recovery Loan Program

The Rural Finance Authority (RFA) has 0% interest loans available for Minnesota producers whose operations have been impacted by flooding. The Disaster Recovery Loan is available to help a farmer cover lost revenue or expenses not covered by insurance. The loan can be used to replace livestock, make building improvements, and other qualifying items. Producers work through their local lender to apply for the Disaster Recovery Loan Program. More information is available on the RFA website.

Eligibility for Disaster Recovery Loans is established through state or federal disaster declarations. For a current list of counties eligible for funding due to severe weather events, visit the USDA website. Applicants have one year from a disaster declaration date to apply for a loan.

Farm Advocates

Farm Advocates provide one-on-one assistance for Minnesota farmers who face crisis caused by either a natural disaster or financial problems. They are trained and experienced in disaster programs, agricultural lending practices, mediation, lender negotiation, farm programs, crisis counseling and recognizing the need for legal and social services.

Farm Stress and Mental Health

Severe weather outbreaks can add to stress, financial problems, price and marketing uncertainties, and household difficulties. You can contact the Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline anytime for support:

Visit the Minnesota Farm and Rural Helpline webpage for more information and resources.

Other State and Federal Resources

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Homeland Security and Emergency Management (MN HSEM) is asking the public to document damage resulting from flooding on June 16, 2024, and continuing through an online survey. This information will be used to assist in collecting consolidated impact information and will be provided to other state and federal agencies as they assess the damage. This survey is not intended to trigger an immediate response. If you are in a life-threatening situation or immediate danger, please dial 911.

Assistance for flood damage may also be available through the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) or the Small Business Administration (SBA). Specifically, the FSA provides emergency farm loans to help producers recover from production and physical losses due to natural disasters. A presidential or secretarial disaster declaration may be needed to access some of these federal programs.