Storm damage has ravaged parts of rural America stretching across a wide stretch of the United States over the last week, but area residents say some of the localized damage will not hinder efforts to plant 2023 row crops.

The weather primarily struck in two systems, one that hit Friday and another that struck Tuesday. Both systems left devastation in their wake, carrying away tin strapped to farm buildings and grain bins but largely sparing the kinds of massive impact possible when severe weather hits rural America.

Iowa State Climatologist Justin Gilsan told Agri-Pulse while there were localized instances of major damage — including the loss of a hog facility in southeastern Iowa and the destruction of a 320-foot tall cellphone tower. But broadly speaking the damage within the state was limited.

“The damage is sporadic, a lot of rural out structures on farms, and then of course tree and power line damage, but you look at the broad scale of agriculture, nothing exceedingly significant,” he said.

One Wapello County hog facility was able to evacuate most of its 9,000 pigs before the destruction of $2 million in facilities, according to KCCI TV in Des Moines.

Across the border in Illinois, Dorsey-area farmer Paul Bertels told Agri-Pulse the storm systems lifted a west-facing shed from the ground, but he was able to reset the structure in place. He’s also heard of lost buildings on neighbor’s farms and sporadic damage throughout Illinois.

“It's hit or miss, but it seemed like it had a pretty good path across the state,” he said.

The storm systems caused weather alerts that stretched from Wisconsin to Arkansas and damage that followed. Friday’s system was especially destructive on its southern point, where one tornado caused at least four fatalities and dozens of injuries in Wynne, Arkansas, according to local media. Little Rock, the state’s capital city, was also hit by a tornado, and Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued an emergency declaration in the state.

Gilsan said Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds has also issued disaster declarations in 18 counties, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a similar declaration for four counties in that state, and Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb has declared disaster emergencies in seven counties.

Official damage estimates have not been offered across the affected areas in the country. President Joe Biden said Sunday he has “directed my team to bring every element of the federal government together to help with immediate needs and long-term rebuilding.”

While widespread damage will involve a hefty amount of cleanup, both Gilsan and Bertels predicted Corn Belt planting activity would not be slowed by the storms.

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Gilsan said the events did bring precipitation, but it was not excessive. What’s more, the coming weather should support fieldwork across the state.

“If you look at the outlook going into the middle of April, we see a strong probability of warmer than average temperatures, and then once we got these systems  out of the Midwest, we're looking at a drier stretch of days at least for the next seven days.”

Bertels said in southern Illinois Friday’s precipitation may have slowed some progress — including the application of anhydrous ammonia fertilizer — he expects producers in the region could

“Where we are, it looks like storms kind of went north and south of us; they probably got a little more,” he said. “But in this area, I'd say by Saturday there's people probably rolling.”

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