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Monday, July 28, 2014

Farmers file class-action suit over levee breach

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

CHARLESTON -- For the first time in days, the sun on Tuesday shined across Southeast Missouri, but the story inside the Clara Newnam Drinkwater Library in Charleston was much gloomier.

Here, some nearly 100 farmers gathered to discuss the impact of the breaching of the Birds Point Levee on their future.

When the Birds Point Levee was breached Monday night, East Prairie farmer John Ponder said he and his wife lost their livelihood.

"We've got grandchildren we're hoping to be able pass this land on to and take it over to farm," Ponder said of the farmland that's been in his wife's family for 75 years and located in the spillway east and south of East Prairie.

But the soybean and corn farmer isn't alone. On Tuesday afternoon he and his wife joined other farmers in the Birds Point spillway in a class-action lawsuit seeking damages for the flooding of their property by the federal government.

The initial complaint against the United States and Army Corps of Engineers included 25 farms and was filed Tuesday morning in the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington, D.C.

"Nobody likes to be involved in lawsuits, but whenever we're finding out several things that possibly could've been avoided, then we have to look at it in a new perspective," Ponder said.

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