White Co. farmers on water watch

Reporter: Drew Speier

Illinois lawmakers are asking the president to declare 15 southern Illinois counties disaster areas after last month's flooding.

That includes White, Gallatin, and Saline counties. The high water and soaked soil have anxious farmers on hold across the Tri-State.

The floods have hit people all across the Tri-State and it's going to take some time before all the damage is assessed. Farmers in Carmi, Illinois were hit hard.

Water continues to cover roadways near Martin Ray Barbre's farm in White County making it impossible to produce any crops, "It seems like the storms are getting us every which way we turn."

Barbre is having a tough time. He owns Chestin Farms near Carmi where he plants corn, soybeans and winter wheat.

Unfortunately his fields are full of water leaving with little to do, "It's a frustrating thing when you sit here and really want to get working and you've got everything ready to go and here you sit."

White County is one of the 15 southern Illinois counties that have suffered through four flood events in the last year.

The most recent flood waters from last month continue to cover fields and roadways which is why state officials are asking for federal disaster relief.

Barbre says, "Anything can help, cash flow is the name of this game and if you can keep the cash flow into the next year then usually you can raise a better crop next year and come back from it."

Barbre says crop insurance will also help.

But because the fields are too wet to work in, Barbre and his crew are tending to chores a little closer to home, "We're getting caught up on several honeydo projects as we call them. Such as laying the floor and painting. There are a lot of things you can get done but you'd rather be out in the field working."

And Barbre says there are two important things that need to happen for him to get back to work, "We need some warm, windy days, that's what we need. That will dry the ground faster than anything."

If the state's request is approved, communities could apply for individual assistance and hazard mitigation assistance.

The total damage in the 15 Illinois counties has yet to be determined but it's expected to be in the millions.

Southern Indiana residents and business owners are being asked to report flood damage to the Indiana Department of Homeland Security.

The number is 1-866-210-1925. Lines are open 9am to 6pm eastern time Monday through Friday.