Goshen County Canal Collapse Could Mean $89 Million in Losses
Farmers in southeastern Wyoming and western Nebraska continue to reel following an irrigation tunnel collapse.
Just shy of one month to the day, a report issued through the University of Wyoming and University of Nebraska extensions details a grim economic impact to Goshen County and Scotts Bluff County, Nebraska.
The direct impact to Goshen County is estimated to be $24.57 million, with Scotts Bluff County standing to take a $52.77 million hit.
And there will be statewide ramifications both Nebraska and Wyoming with the total economic impact estimated to be $89.13 million.
“If farmers are unable to sell these commodities, there will be a negative impact not only on our farmers but also on main streets,” Jessica Groskopf, Nebraska Extension regional economist said in a University of Wyoming press release. “It is important for our communities to understand the hardships our farmers are facing and realize the loss of these crops will ripple through our economy.”
Farmers in the region mostly grow irrigated alfalfa hay, corn, sugar beets and dry edible beans.
Repairs on part of the canal that breeched are nearing completion and crews are still working underground to repair the tunnel.
It remains uncertain if crop insurance will cover the losses.
The impacts of the collapse extend beyond directly affecting growers. With no crops to harvest, Goshen County could lose $4.22 million in labor income.
On July 17, an irrigation tunnel supplying water to farmland south of the North Platte River in southeastern Wyoming and western Nebraska collapsed. The canal supplies water to more than 100,000 acres of farmland in the two states.