Farmers vs. city in flood fight

Which is more important: A few farmers or a city of fewer than 3,000 people?

Last night, after winning a court fight, the Army Corps of Engineers blew up a levee sending the Mississippi River cascading onto 130,000 acres of farmland. It was an attempt to lower the river that still threatens Cairo, Illinois.

Did it work? Check out the river gauge from the National Weather Service…


That chart also tells us something about one of the causes of Mississippi River flooding in the first place.

“This is our industry, this is our factory, we grow food for the same folks trying to blow up our levee,” Cathy Allred, one of the farmers, told the New York Times.

“I poured my whole life into that farm, and I’m 60 years old and I don’t want to start on anything else,” another said.

Eventually the water will drain, some of the farmers may rebuild, and things will be back to normal, with only a little damage to political careers like that of Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley who had an answer when asked which should be sacrificed: the farms or the city?

“Cairo. I’ve been there, trust me. Cairo,” he said. “Have you been to Cairo?” he added. “OK, then you know what I’m saying then.”

  • Bob Moffitt

    Who needs farmers, anyhow? I buy my food at a grocery store!

  • jon

    Guess some farmers should start paddy fields

  • MR

    “There are two spiritual dangers in not owning a farm. One is the danger of supposing that breakfast comes from the grocery, and the other that heat comes from the furnace.” -Aldo Leopold

    What does that mean for the current discussion? I’m not totally sure, but I like the use of language.

  • Chris N.

    Can someone explain why the silt left after the flooding will be bad for the farms? I thought river silt was supposed to be packed with plant-friendly nutrients?

  • Lucy

    No sandbagging here. WWMBD? (What would Michelle Bachman Do?)

    God’s name is Speaker of the House Steve Tilley and this time around he, (oops He) is saving Cairo by sacrificing the good farmers of East Prairie.

    In a past life they must have been those sassy Israelites who snickered on the banks of the Red Sea while the entire Egyptian Army was swallowed up.

  • Bob Collins

    // why the silt left after the flooding will be bad for the farms?

    I doubt it will be. At least the backyard gardeners I talk to up in the Red River Valley say their gardens are unbelievably productive once they’re able to get to them, plant, and tend them.

  • John

    Isn’t it really farmer vs farmer?

    Minnesota farmer with drain tiles vs the farmer downstream.

  • lucy

    I don’t know, something about the combination of words, Mississippi River (in all it’s purity) and silt and farmland and grocery stores just doesn’t flow for me.

    I would think that comparing the Red River to the Mississippi River would be like comparing organic compost to a toxic waste dump?

  • Jamie

    I don’t get the video. I thought maybe it was going to show us the flood that resulted. I haven’t seen any other coverage. Did the farmland/Cairo get flooded?

  • bob collins

    As I indicated, the fields flooded, the river level dropped