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WICD Newschannel 15 :: News - On the Farm - Farmers Lead the Fight Against Flooding

Farmers Lead the Fight Against Flooding

The Illinois River has already crested in some areas, while downstream residents await the highpoint.
Thousands have been working hard to sandbag and shore up levees.
If you take a close look at the men and women waging the battle against the river, you'll find that many farmers are leading and taking part in the fight.
As Department of Corrections inmates and volunteers work to fill thousands of sand bags, Bluffs area farmer Alan Merriman decided to help out.
"Well for one I'd like to plant corn in those fields down there," says Merriman, "and a lot of my neighbors are on the levees, and this is where I come cause I can do this halfway decent and not get in the way."
Sandbagging is a family affair on many farms as they work to help their neighbors.
"Because they're in need," says Hannah Cannon, a young girl volunteering with her family, "and I want them to have their homes."
"It's hard work but it's fun," says another young volunteer, Josh Daniels, "you get used to it."
This whole bag filling operation is being housed on the Dolen family farm near Bloomfield.
"We're high enough here that water can't get to us," says Scott County Drainage and Levee District Commissioner Randy Dolen "we take care of everything in Scott County out of this site, this borders 2 drainage districts, so it's close, handy."
Many of the bags are heading to a nearby levee as volunteers attempt to raise it above the crest.
"Well we just put the fence up and drive stakes and put 2 by 12 boards up and it works pretty good," says Scott County Drainage District Board Member Lane COmerford, "we've done it before."
The idea is simple, hold back the Illinois River.
"Well to keep it out of about 10,000 acres of farmground, and houses, and several buildings", says Comerford.
These levee districts are primarily set up and run by local farmers.
"The drainage district is a municipality," says Pike and Scott Farm Bureaus Executive Director Blake Roderick, "just like the city, or a village, or a county, and they assess themselves fees for maintaining these levees, maintaining the pumps, pumping the water out."
Savingfarmground isn't necessarily a selfish enterprise.
"People need to realize that bottom's where their food comes from," says Merriman, "they ought to a appreciate the people who come out and help."
The fact that so many are helping means these farmers' mission stands a chance.
"I'm hopeful that when it crests, we've got enough low spots, and she's taken care of and we can get back to pumping her out, and going back and farming," says Merriman, "I'd like to have some warm weather, it ain't late by any means, but it will get there pretty soon."
--
Reporting in Scott County, Mike Brooks ABC News Channel 20.Farmers Lead the Fight Against Flooding

Saturday, August 3 2013, 03:29 PM CDT

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