INDEPENDENCE, OR (KPTV) – Major flooding last week closed main roads and hit several farms in the Willamette Valley.
Mark McKay Farms Inc. in Independence grows 750 acres of crops south of Salem, and 550 of those are hops.
Last week, many of those crops were in several feet of water.
“There's nothing we can do about it, you know, I can't control Mother Nature,” said farmer Michael McKay.
On Tuesday, as the water continued to recede, there were still many areas of the farm in several inches of water.
McKay took FOX 12 on a tour of the devastation.
“The water was coming over the driveway at one point. Here you can see where the water and everything else was kind of ripping through there,” McKay said as he drove through the farm.
McKay, who is a seventh generation farmer, says they expect flooding in the winter time through February.
He says that isn’t harmful to the crops, but this kind of flooding never happens in April and it could cause mold and disease in the hops when they should be preparing the hops to fully grow before harvest in the summer.
“We'd be tying at the top of the wire then run them to the ground, poking them in so then in a week or so after they're strung we can come back through with another crew, train all the hops so they can follow the wire up,” McKay said.
So the question is how will this impact harvest?
“We don't know, you know. Once the water goes back down we'll be able to tell,” McKay said.
He says it’s unclear what kind of financial impact this might have on the hops.
“Estimated, we don't know yet. It could be in the millions if crop does fail, but we'd like everything to pull through and go on with our year like usual,” McKay said.
The farm is hoping to assess the damage within the next few weeks before it can move forward in the next steps for the season.
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