Posted at 02:15 PM ET, 05/04/2011

Mississippi River levee breach floods 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland [Video]


Part of the 130,000 acres of farmland flooded by an intentional break in the Birds Point levee. (Jeff Roberson - AP)
The demolition of a Mississippi River levee has left more than 130,000 acres of Missouri farmland under water. Shocking video from the area (below) shows the tops of trees, telephone polls and farm equipment peaking out of the floodwater. One Missouri farmer interviewed by the Associated Press appears heart-broken as he weeps for submerged farms, yet still hopeful.

The Army Corps of Engineers blew up the Birds Point levee Monday hoping to save Cairo, Ill. from rising floodwaters. The corps said the explosion was supposed to divert four feet of water off the river, and that appears to be happening. The Ohio River in Cairo has dropped about a foot and a half since the explosion, the AP reports.

Missouri farmers and lawmakers tried to halt the explosion, but their request was denied by the U.S Supreme Court on Sunday. Maj. Gen. Michael Walsh, who ultimately ordered the explosion, said he understood the objections. “But this was one of the relief valves for the system,” he said. “We were forced to use that valve.”

On Tuesday, 25 farmers sued the U.S. government, “arguing that their land near Birds Point had been taken without adequate compensation,” the AP reports. “Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said farmers with crop insurance will be eligible for government reimbursements if their land was flooded. Other help will be available for livestock producers and tree farmers under the same programs designed for natural disasters. People who lost homes may also be eligible for rural housing loans.”

[Gallery: Watching the rivers rise]

Watch Missouri farmers respond to the devastation below:

By  |  02:15 PM ET, 05/04/2011

 
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