Missouri pecan producers feel impact of long season of flooding

Thousands of sandbags were filled and stacked, homes were evacuated and water filled the streets.

Paul Manson, a local pecan farmer, had never seen such devastation.

“The water was just so slow going through that no oxygen was available for the trees to get,” Manson said. “In ’93, the water just came so quick and fast that oxygen was able to get to them.”

Manson and his family have been farming pecans in the Brunswick, Missouri, river bottoms since 1970. Throughout the years they have acquired land on nearby hills to further their operation. It is estimated that 50 acres worth of pecan trees were impacted by flood waters.

A fantastic crop was expected this year, according to Manson, but many of the nuts have fallen into the water or mud. Many of the trees will not be harvested due to water starting to come back into the orchards. Mud, sand and debris have caused the inspection process to be delayed. This has led to additional delays in the cleanup process.

Mayor Cindy Collier knows the whole town will feel the economic impact.

“Every person in Brunswick is linked to agriculture, right?” she said. “The city’s economy is based on agriculture. If the farmer is doing well, the city is doing well; and most of the farmers didn’t get to plant their crops so Brunswick will suffer.”

The city’s bills have reached the $100,000 mark and may continue to rise as more inspections are done. FEMA offered assistance to residents and specialty crop insurance is available, but many hoops need to be jumped and high insurance premiums are just the beginning of financial recovery.

Even through all the hardships, residents and farmers stay positive.

“You always have to be optimistic,” Manson said.