Cairo, Ill. spared with levee blast, but concerns for area farmers remain

May 3, 2011

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is continuing to blow holes into agricultural levees to relieve rising floodwater on the town of Cairo, Ill. (See video footage of today's second blast below).

However, sparing Cairo came at the expense of hundreds of millions of dollars of Missouri crops.

Ed Marshall farms about 8,000 acres in Mississippi County in southeast Missouri.  At this time of year he normally looks out on miles of corn and wheat, but right now, his view is different.

"It's water as far as I can see, you know, and our ground is flat as a table," Marshall said. "So I can see for 7-8 miles and there is nothing but water."

The decision by the Army Corps to blow up the levee at Birds Point has helped waters recede slightly from Cairo. But some $300 million worth of Missouri corn and wheat is now swamped.

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says insurance reimbursements will be available to flooded-out farmers.

But even with insurance, Marshall worries the flooding may strip away much of his valuable topsoil.

Here is some aerial footage of the "crevasse #2" operation near New Madrid, Mo. today:

From the air (Footage courtesy of Missouri National Guard):

And from the ground (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Video):