Agriculture

Dairy farmers brace for possible flooding

Horseman Gene Roberts of Merced works to rescue dairy herd stranded by flooding Tuolumne River west of Modesto in 1997.
Horseman Gene Roberts of Merced works to rescue dairy herd stranded by flooding Tuolumne River west of Modesto in 1997. Modesto Bee

Dairy farmers worried about flooding from the San Joaquin River will gather at noon Wednesday to hear about emergency plans.

The meeting will be at the Mountain View Grange Hall, at the corner of Crows Landing Road and West Main Street.

“We will be reviewing preparedness planning to move cows and evacuate potentially affected dairies/facilities,” said a Tuesday evening online post by Western United Dairymen, based in Modesto.

The riverside areas of concern include Crows Landing, Carpenter, Grayson and Shiloh roads and the Dos Rios Ranch area at the confluence of the San Joaquin and Tuolumne rivers.

The San Joaquin rose out of its banks over the weekend, flooding a few trailer parks in the Crows Landing area. The Tuolumne has not flooded but is running at capacity to increase space in Don Pedro Reservoir for future runoff.

Officials with Stanislaus County and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers plan to be at the meeting.

Dairy is the county’s top-grossing farm product and one of its most intensive uses of agricultural land. The farms have large manure stockpiles that fertilize feed crops under state permits aimed at preventing pollution.

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