Iowa family presses Corps of Engineers for accountability after flooding ruins farm

Local News

HAMBURG, Iowa (KETV) – Looking out over miles water, Kim Ashlock and her family can only get within eyeshot of their farmland.

“This is not after the flood for us, our home is still out there,” Ashlock said.

Nearly six weeks after the Missouri River levee behind their property breached, the only way to access the land is by airboat.

Ashlock says the rich farmland that has been in her mother’s family for six decades is now covered in several feet of sand. Ashlock, her husband, and children live on the land in the home that used to belong to her grandfather.

“It’s ruined, it’s gone, our legacy is done,” Ashlock said.

Ashlock’s brother, who took care of farming the 200+ acres, documented what the property looked like on Tuesday. His photos and videos show the land isn’t farmable anymore.

Mounds of sand have consumed the fields and all of the farming equipment the family had stored.

“It’s going to take lots of money, lots of equipment to get all the sand off that ground,” Ashlock said. “The Corps [of Engineers] needs to make this right somehow for all of the families that have not only lost their homes but their livelihoods.”

Ashlock and her mother, Linda White, say the Corps of Engineers should take responsibility for the levees that have failed and flooded Fremont County time after time, including 1993 and 2011.

White remembers flooding even further back than that, recalling how she and her siblings would pick up debris as children to help their father.

“He had this flatbed, we’d jump on and off and pick everything up and he could get it farmed,” White said.

This time, Ashlock isn’t sure her family can pick up the pieces.

“They can’t continue like this, who’s going to pay them, how is [my brother] going to earn an income this year when his land is covered in sand,” Ashlock said.

The family predicts it could be months before they can access their property normally, but it will likely take years before the land can be used for farming again.

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