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When Andrew Bell flew with a group of fellow Kentucky Farm Bureau members to view Midwest feedlots, he was surprised at the extent of land he saw that was flooded by the swollen Missouri River.
“The heavy rains plus snow melt caused a great amount of flooding,” said Bell, who with his dad, Larry, raises 25 head of Angus on their farm near Gleanings.
“When we flew into Omaha, the river had flooded almost to the airport,” he said. “The water was in houses and the Interstate was shut down for 20 miles.”
During the five days (June 13-17) the group traveled through Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska, Bell viewed thousands of acres of corn that was ruined by the flood.
“What wasn’t under water was yellow and it’s too late to replant corn,” he said.
In one motel where he stayed, floodwater had crept to within a few feet of the building.
In spite of the watery reception, however, he and the 71 others in his group toured five large feedlots.
“A lot of our cattle wind up on their feedlots, so the purpose of the trip, sponsored by Cargill, Farm Credit Services of Mid-America and Kentucky Farm Bureau, was an educational tour to see how things are done there,” said Bell.
Among the most impressive revelations were the large operations equipped to handle 12,000 head of cattle. One barn measured one-quarter mile long.
“In it, all the feeding was inside,” Bell said. “During the summer, the animals feed in the shade which keeps them cooler, and yet it helps keep them warmer in winter.”