This Congressional Research Service (CRS) report discusses the impact on agriculture brought about by the Midwest floods of 2008. "Unusually cool, wet spring weather followed by widespread June flooding across much of the Corn Belt has cast considerable uncertainty over 2008 U.S. corn and soybean production prospects. As much as 5 million acres of crop production may be either lost entirely or subject to significant yield reductions. Estimates of crop damage vary widely, and could change based on the extent of plant recovery or replanting. The likely impacts, however, cannot be estimated until August 12, when USDA survey data becomes available. Significant damage also was incurred by agricultural processing facilities, livestock operations, grain elevators and storage facilities, and transportation infrastructure. [...] Congress has appropriated nearly $480 million in emergency funding, primarily for conservation activities in flood-affected regions, as part of the FY2008 Supplemental Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-252). USDA is also committing resources to the flood-affected areas including rescue and clean up, food assistance, housing, community assistance, business assistance, and farmer and rancher assistance. In addition, USDA announced permission, on July 7, 2008, to use CRP land for grazing only in disaster and contiguous counties. In light of recent record high market prices for corn and soybeans, and the outlook for extremely tight supplies by late summer, commodity market prices are likely to remain volatile through the remainder of the growing season. If flood-related crop losses ultimately prove sufficiently large (to be determined at harvest time), they will likely contribute to higher commodity prices, thereby adding to pressure on policymakers over concerns about consumer food price inflation, international food aid availability, and the soundness of policy that dedicates commercial agricultural crops to biofuels production, particularly corn used for ethanol."
CRS Report for Congress, RL34583