Lincoln Co. farmers brace for flooding

FOLEY, Mo. - Farmers in Lincoln County are bracing for flooding that could wipe out their crops. Making matters worse for those farmers trying to make a living, it would be the second year in a row.

Just last week, the Army Corp of Engineers completed reconstructive work on the Foley levee after last year's flood damaged it. They had to add a foot and a half of soil on top and put plastic over it to hold it in place. Now they are crossing their fingers the river doesn't go over the expected crest.

"It's a lot of work, I can guarantee you that," said Bill Irwin, farmer and levee district president.

It's nothing new for these farmers trying to protect their livelihood. With the help of inmates from the Lincoln County Jail, 10,000 sandbags were filled.

Now the locals are putting them in place on top of the levee for extra security, protecting farmland and the town of Foley.

"We are expecting just a couple of inches of water that will come over the Foley levee but with the sandbagging effort will hold that water," said David Moore with the Army Corp of Engineers.

There's a reason so much work is put into protecting the levees. This area along the Mississippi River is made up of a large levee system, if one is compromised it hurts them all.

There aren't any homes close to this levee, but there are crops for miles.

"The farmers have lost the past two years in crops," explained Moore.

Two years ago there was a drought and last year the land was flooded, now this year's crops could be gone in a matter of hours.

"This is all of these guy's livings, all the way from here down to the other side of Old Monroe," said Irwin.

He says the community of Foley sits several feet higher than the farmland, so it should stay dry.

"Even if the levee breaks the water that is here will not get to town," said Irwin.

The river is expected to crest at the Winfield Lock and Dam Thursday morning at 34.8 feet. The record for Winfield/Foley was set in 1993 at 39 feet.


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