Flooding causing concerns for Green Country farmers

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 6/05/2013 5:17 pm Published: 6/05/2013 4:25 pm

Flooding continues to be a problem across parts of Green Country.

Floodwaters are threatening farmers' crops in the Skiatook area, which can start to hurt wallets.

Farmers said if they start losing crops because of flooding, that will drive up the price of things like bread. Many farmers faced similar problems last summer, because of the drought.

"We've had almost total loss the last …this is going on the third season. And we did have insurance to help us, and government subsidies have helped," said Karl Skalik, a farmer.

Skalnik thought he was being smart when he switched his 800 acres from corn and soy beans to wheat.

"More drought-resistance than the soy beans. So we elected to go to wheat, thinking we would have four years coming of drought," he said.

Instead of drought, he got flooding, which brings its own problems.

"The wheat berries in the head of the wheat plant can sprout and actually try to grow in the head before it's harvested. And that ruins the quality of it," he said.

Not to mention the problems from the storms that bring the floods.

"Hail and wind can also cause it to fall over, so the combines can't pick it up and harvest it," he said.

Skalnik doesn't want the rain to stop, just to slow down.

"We'll be harvesting a week from now if it dries up," he said.

Skalnik said as a third-generation farmer he learned at a young age how volatile farming can be.

"The whole world is only 12 months away from famine. So, the entire earth can become famine-stricken if we don't get rains or if we get too much rain," he said.

He's just hoping for the best.

"I try not to worry. I can't do anything about it," said Skalnik.

Skalnik said even if wheat crops are great this year, don't expect prices on flour or bread to come down. He said fewer farmers are growing wheat because so many are growing corn to keep up with ethanol mandates.

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