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Financial Losses From Devils Lake Flooding Continue

While North Dakota and surrounding areas experienced several months of below-average precipitation, Devils Lake has been slow to recede.

Current estimates are that nearly 151,000 acres of cropland will be lost to the lake in 2012. However, this is down about 12,000 acres from 2011.

“The total impact on business activity in the region from direct and indirect losses this year is estimated at $180 million,” says Dwight Aakre, North Dakota State University Extension Service farm management specialist. “These losses include reduced personal income of $47 million and reduced retail trade activity of $39 million. The loss of business activity ultimately is reflected in lost jobs in the region. Employment losses are estimated at 264 jobs for the region.”

Tax revenues will decline primarily due to a reduction in sales tax revenue. Personal and corporate income taxes also will be reduced.

The data used for the study included the average acreage of each crop grown in the area, five-year average yields for each crop and estimated marketing year average price for each crop.

“This analysis quantifies the extent of the lost agricultural production in the Devils Lake Basin due to the continued high water levels in Devils Lake, Stump Lake and the surrounding area,” says Bill Hodous, NDSU Extension Service Ramsey County agent. “It does not include any nonagricultural costs associated with roads and other infrastructure.”

Hodous, Aakre and Randal Coon, NDSU research specialist, have been studying Devils Lake losses for several years.

NDSU Agriculture Communication – March 23, 2012

Source:Bill Hodous, (701) 662-7027,
Source:Dwight Aakre, (701) 231-7378,
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136,
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