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Record flooding 'is just one more challenge for farmers': Arkansas governor

Valentina Caval

About 10 million people in the Midwest are about to see the worst flooding in recorded history this week. The biggest threat is along the Arkansas River, where the National Weather Service warns of a "significant impact to life and property."

The dismal weather is taking a large toll on farmers in Arkansas, who have already seen water inundate their fields — disrupting harvesting and planting schedules and washing away crops already planted.

“We didn't build the levee system to get to this record level that we're seeing in the Arkansas River,” Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson told Yahoo Finance’s On the Move. “The funding has slowed down in the last decade, and many of those levees need to be prepared.”

The river is expected to crest Wednesday around 20 feet above flood stage, breaking a record set in 1945 and causing potentially catastrophic flooding.

“This is just one more challenge for the farmers to meet,” said Hutchinson, who declared a state of emergency due to the flooding. “They are struggling because of tariffs and they’ve had a large amount of rain this year already.”

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump called for an increase in the current tariffs on Chinese imports to 25% from 10% and China retaliated with its own plans to raise tariffs on American goods.

As the flooding moves toward the Mississippi River some farmland is expected to be flooded but “it’s unknown exactly how extensive that will be,” according to Hutchinson. He added that more studies on the levee system will be conducted to address future threatening weather conditions.

“Our farmers — they're resilient. They're tough,” Hutchinson said. “We’ll get through this. But this is just another load on them right now.”

Valentina Caval is a producer at Yahoo Finance.

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