Farmer Dave Ogden shreds stalks on his land west of Wood River and north of Highway 30 to prepare for planting. While this piece of land was not harmed during the recent flooding, land owned by Ogden near the overpass did have some flood damage. Wet debris, wet ground and cooler temperatures have made planting preparations a challenge this season. (Independent/Barrett Stinson)

As flooding continues and farmers fall further behind in getting their crops into the ground this spring due to weather delays, Nebraska’s two largest farm organizations are continuing their relief efforts to help state farmers and rural families.

Nebraska Farm Bureau and Nebraska Farmers Union both have ongoing disaster relief efforts to help those impacted this year by natural disasters.

The Nebraska Farm Bureau Disaster Relief Fund has opened its second round of distributions. Applications are welcome and encouraged by new and repeat applicants.

The Disaster Relief Fund has collected more than $2.5 million, with 100% of the funds going to help farmers, ranchers and rural communities. The application process can be completed online at www.nefb.org/disaster. Farm Bureau membership is not required to apply for assistance.

Both new applicants and prior recipients who wish to be considered for additional aid should complete the updated application form.

For help accessing the online application, call (402) 421-4747.

To donate, apply for assistance, or access other disaster resources, visit www.nefb.org/disaster.

According to the USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service, planting season continues to be delayed because of wet spring weather.

Along with the above-average precipitation in March that caused statewide flooding, the latter part of May and now early June have been wet, resulting in another round of flooding and planting delays.

Overnight on Monday, Grand Island received 1.28 inches of precipitation. During the last two weeks, nearly 6 inches of rain has fallen in Grand Island and the surrounding area.

More rain is in the forecast, according to the National Weather Service in Hastings, as there are chances of showers and thunderstorms daily this week.

For the week ending on Sunday, state farmers had 88% of their projected corn crop in the ground, behind the 98% five-year average. For the corn that has been planted, 67% has emerged, compared to the five-year average of 88%. Nearly three-quarters of the corn that has emerged is rated either excellent (7%) or good (67%).

The USDA reported that 64% of Nebraska’s soybean crop has been planted, compared to the five-year average of 87%, with only 39% of the crop emerged, compared to the five-year average of 60%.

Winter wheat condition rated 2% very poor, 6% poor, 25% fair, 48% good and 19% excellent. Winter wheat headed was 45%, well behind the 67% last year and the 75% average.

Sorghum planted was 36%, well behind 77% last year and the 70% average.

Pasture and range conditions rated 1% very poor, 1% poor, 15% fair, 70% good and 13% excellent.

The Nebraska Farmers Union Foundation said $500 grants are still available from the Nebraska Rural Response Hotline. The grants are funded by Farm Aid, NeFU Foundation and other donors. For grant applications, call the hotline at (800) 464-0258.

The $500 grant application process is simple. The application can be filled out over the phone and the assistance is provided in confidence.

Established in 1984, the hotline is the longest continuously operating farm crisis hotline in the nation, according to John Hansen, president of the Nebraska Farmers Union and secretary for the Rural Response Council.

It is staffed by Legal Aid of Nebraska, administered by Interchurch Ministries of Nebraska, and partners with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture and the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services to provide a wide range of services from mental health counseling, bookkeeping, financial counseling, legal services and food assistance.

People wanting to support hotline relief efforts can visit the website at www.nebraskafarmersunion.org or send checks to NeFU Foundation at 1305 Plum St., Lincoln, NE 68502.

“We are asking folks to help spread the word about this program for farmers and ranchers who got clobbered by either the late blizzard or the floods,” Hansen said.

For people wanting the most recent updates on rural flood relief services, programs, and activities, call the Nebraska Department of Agriculture Hotline at (800) 831-0550 or go to the website at http://www.nda.nebraska.gov.