Iowa Couple Still Farming 1 Year After Floods
GUY RAZ, host:
Welcome back to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy RAZ. Just about a year ago, this was the view from Karen Schock's farmhouse in Southeastern Iowa.
Ms. KAREN SCHOCK: We can see that our farm is underwater. A windmill is about 20 feet high and just a few blades are sticking out.
RAZ: Karen Schock and her husband, Bill, raise pigs and farm 800 acres of seed corn and soybeans just west of the Mississippi River. When we talked to her last year, the house was safe, but flooding had swamped 80 percent of their land.
Today, as many nearby towns are marking the flood's one year anniversary, we called Karen to see how her farm and her community are doing one year on. She says it took about a month just to get one field dry enough to plant.
Ms. SCHOCK: The water had receded off of one of the farms to a point where Bill planted beans and...
RAZ: Billy's your husband, of course, right?
Ms. SCHOCK: Right. And we raised a decent crop off of that actually last year, so that was a wonderful thing. And then, this year, rains delayed our planting. But my cousin just went home yesterday and he came out and helped us finish planting our seed corn.
RAZ: Tell me something, when you saw so much of your land just covered in water a year ago now, could you ever imagine that you'd be using it again? I mean, did you think that that was the end?
Ms. SCHOCK: Well, as we looked out over the flood, I made the comment I can't wait to be a year down the road and know that everything is going to be okay. And we are okay.
RAZ: Karen, did you get any help from the government?
Ms. SCHOCK: We got a little. We got a - about $700 or so on a food card, and we got some unemployment benefits.
RAZ: So, most of the help that you received actually came from churches and folks in other communities?
Ms. SCHOCK: Right. Four of the women from church came out and took the wives in whose husbands were affected by the flood. I guess I should say that being the wife of a husband who lost his job in a sense is challenging because they feel that overwhelming need to provide for their family and it's out of their hands at that point. Just to know what to say, what not to say, is challenging, and you need prayers. So, these women came out and listened to us, and we did a Bible study. We just sat and talked, and it really, really meant a lot.
RAZ: I mean, is it fair to say that everything is back to normal now where you are? That in other words, there are very few permanent or lasting reminders of the flood?
Ms. SCHOCK: I would say no. It is not fair to say that. You can still drive down the road where the break in the levy occurred. And there's a farm on either side of that road that's sustained. A lot of filth damage. The river just carried a lot of debris and filth down, and you can see that they are still working on trying to get their farm farmable. So, it's still going to take some time to have things look normal, but it'll never be the same.
RAZ: Karen Schock is in her home in Mediapolis, Iowa. Karen, thank you very much.
Ms. SCHOCK: You're welcome.
RAZ: And you can find a photo gallery of last year's floods and their aftermath at our Web site, npr.org.