What is in this article?:
- Alabama growers pick up the pieces after weekend floods
- Soil remained in place
• Farmers Bob Luker and James White say this isn't the first time the area has flooded, but the unexpected storms have left them with an uncertain future.
A NEW FENCE near James White's farm buckled from the weight of debris and water following floods that affected a bulk of Talladega County.
Soil remained in place
“What we can't do is make more soil. If this acreage had been plowed up, our topsoil would have washed away. Our no-till conservation practices kept soil loss to a minimum and, ultimately, saved our farm."
Down the road from one of Luker's corn fields, heavy rainfall and the rush of water from a nearby creek leveled James White's fence line. In addition to dealing with 3-to-6 feet deep waters in his pastures around nearby creeks and the uncertainty of other damages, White said he had to work quickly to pick up the fences.
"When the fences fell, our cows got out of the pastures and onto the roads," said White, who has 80 head of beef cattle. "The first thing we had to do was get them out of the roads in case the barriers were lifted and people started traveling this way.
“Several neighbors came by and helped me prop up the fences as best we could, and a good friend and neighbor allowed me to put a few cows on his farm until I could get the rest of the fences up. Now, we're waiting for everything to dry up."
Just as fast as the Choccolocco and Eastaboga creeks overflowed and flooded his land, water levels have subsided. Having his farm located near the creek bottom is generally a good thing, White said, but flooded fields are an unfortunate result.
"This area tends to flood to some degree, but it's probably been 20 years since the water's gotten up this high," he added. "I'm just thankful it's gone down as quickly as it has. I remember telling my daughter, who lives on the edge of the farm, that it'd be a few days before she could get out, and I was wrong.
“Water is still knee-deep in some areas, but most of the roads are accessible again."
White said he was fortunate he didn't lose any cows during the storms, but he was a little upset about the fences.
"It's hard to tell now, but these were new fences," White said, looking around at remnants of wire and wood now barely standing, weighed down with debris. "If there's any kind of (financial) relief that comes from this, I really hope I can get some help to fix them."
Going forward, Luker and White agree events like the weekend's unexpected flash floods encourage an evaluation of current operating methods and things they might do a little differently in the future. At the end of the day, however, they recognize no plan is fool-proof.
"From every situation, if you look at it and really ponder it, you can learn something," Luker said. "I'm proud of how we've handled things, and we'll continue to do everything we can to become more efficient and better stewards of this land we love so much. Like life, weather is unpredictable, and there's only so much planning anyone can do."
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