Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds is requesting nearly $4 billion in federal aid after straight-line winds smashed grain bins, flattened crops, and left thousands of residents without power last week.
Reynolds sent a letter to President Donald Trump Sunday requesting funding under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Individual Assistance Program for some 20 counties and the Public Assistance program for 16 counties.
“While it is unconventional for a major disaster declaration request of this magnitude to be assembled and approved within a matter of days, it is essential that our request is expedited and approved as quickly as possible,” Reynolds said.
Speaking to reporters aboard Air Force One on Monday morning, Trump said he might stop in Iowa later in the day if his schedule allowed. But Trump's chief of staff, Mark Meadows, said later that an Iowa stop was logistically impossible. Trump had scheduled campaign stops in Minnesota and Wisconsin during the day.
“We’ll be making a pretty big journey today stopping at a couple of wonderful states. ... I just approved an emergency declaration for Iowa who had an incredible windstorm like probably they’ve never seen before," Trump said.
According to a social media post by the Iowa Soybean Association on Friday, USDA estimates that some 14 million acres have been damaged in Iowa. That number is up from the earlier 10 million-acre estimate by Reynolds. In Iowa, damages include 5.64 million acres of soybeans and 8.18 million acres of corn. Some 37.7 million acres were affected in the Midwest, according to USDA.
USDA’s Risk Management Agency is urging producers to expedite the filing of loss claims with their insurance agents. RMA said some 58,000 policy holders were affected with a liability of around $6 billion.
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Vice President Mike Pence was in Des Moines last Thursday for campaign-related events and talked to some farmers about the storm damage. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa., told reporters Monday morning that Pence assured him that Iowa would get the resources it needs to recover from the storm.
When asked if $4 billion was enough, Grassley said only time will tell.
“I know the assessment is going to take a long long period of time and I suppose the true assessment is going to be what crop insurance does,” he said.