CRAIG, Mo. (AP) — In the late 1800s, the first members of the Drewes clan came to northwest Missouri and found a land that looked like their own back in Germany.
Nearly 140 years later, their descendants are struggling to keep the fruit of their hard work alive.
Almost all of the 3,000 acres of the Drewes farm is awash in the Missouri River, which crested at more than 28 feet near Rulo Bridge, the Kansas City Star reported. The flood stage for the area is 17 feet.
The flood was not the first, second or even fifth the Drewes brothers, Eddie and David, had seen in their lifetimes. But it was the worst.
“The worst since Noah floated through here,” David said.
Like the water, the devastation from the flood has seeped into every part of their family's life.
Even with the river crested and some of the water receded, their frantic efforts to preserve what they have left continue.
On March 15, a nearby farmer alerted Eddie and others that the water was getting high at a levee two miles south of the Drewes property. Eddie Drewes said he and two other farmers brought excavators and spent until midnight piling up dirt.
In the meantime, David and his two adult sons, Wyatt and Trevor, began the arduous process of moving their 150 head of cattle to higher ground. A tractor, with the tread needed to pull through the muddy ground, tugged each trailer of cows miles away and then returned for more.
The task took two days.
“It was our No. 1 priority,'' David Drewes said.
Their second priority was to protect the grain bins full of thousands of bushels of corn and soybeans.
If the last year's crop was “a hurt on top of a hurt,'' as Eddie called it, the floods were positioned to bring another hurt. If soybeans get wet, not only do they spoil but they expand and the bins burst. Eddie set to building 3- to 4-foot levees around the bins.
On Saturday, March 16, David knew the water was at the farm before he could see it. He smelled the mix of sulfur and trash.
“I told my wife look outside and you'll see the water,” David said. “She looked outside, and it was everywhere.”
The real damage will only be apparent once the water lifts. When the Missouri River surged through their fields in 2011, it left a two-acre-long gash in the ground. It scattered the farm's gravel roads. Oftentimes, sand bags leave behind their guts on the fields.
“Ever try to grow something on a beach? It's like that,” Eddie said.
The farm has lost the money they put into the fertilizer that was on the ground when the flood came and the seed for a planting season that most likely will not happen, according to David.
“No one is going to invest until there's containment on the Missouri River,” David said, adding that the breached levees needed to be fixed.
The Drewes are part of a contingent of Missouri River basin farmers who think the Army Corps of Engineers is managing the river poorly. Eddie was one of the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit that sought damages from the Corps after the 2011 flood.
Remaining vigilant about keeping the electricity on and the sump pumps going is the plan for the immediate future.
Though the floods can be maddening and are ``happening way too often,'' the family plans on rebuilding, David said.
``You get sad ... mad,'' David said. ``Then it's, `Let's try it again.'''