Central Valley farmers feeling effects of Midwest flooding

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The impact of the severe flooding in the Midwest is being felt right here in the Central Valley. 

Ryan Jacobsen of the Fresno County Farm Bureau said we’re not really are not able to store a lot of feed locally, so it’s constantly coming in on a weekly basis.

“California for it’s livestock feed, is very dependent on things being imported from the Midwest,” he said. 

Major railways in Nebraska and Iowa are now underwater so shipments of staple food sources including canola, rolled corn and soybeans are being delayed. 

“The rations of animals are very well calculated the carbohydrates, the fats, the protiens and so it’s not as simple as just finding something else,” Jacobsen said.

“Dairies pay a nutritionist to come in and formulate their diets,” Dr. Kyle Thompson the dairy science program coordinator at Fresno State said. 

Thompson said these nutritional experts will find alternatives to feed the animals, but farmers could take a hit in an already tough industry.

“If prices of the feed goes up, and right now milk prices are pretty low, dairying in this state is in pretty difficult times so it’s going to make that profit margin, which is already pretty small, it’s going to shrink it down even more,” Thompson said. 

Jabosen said the impact will likely increase, as the shortage continues. “The biggest question mark right now — the timetable isn’t necessarily known, it could be days. It could be weeks,” he said. 

Both Jacobsen and Thompson said it doesn’t matter how long the shortage lasts, the animals’ well being will stay the priority.

“The cow’s health will not be impacted. We will always do our best to make sure the cows are taken care of and we’ll sacrifice milk yield to make sure the cows sustain,” Thompson said. 

Jacobsen said poultry, dairy cattle and beef cattle (which will all likely be affected) are in the top 10 for crops in Fresno County, and also among the top in the state. He does not anticipate consumers will be affected, but said there are still unknowns. 

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