Experts say a decision to blast open a levee and submerge more than 200 square miles of Missouri farmland has likely gouged away fertile topsoil, deposited mountains of debris to clear and may even hamper farming in some places for years.

The extent of the damage can't be accurately assessed until the floodwaters recede, and that could take months. The Missouri Farm Bureau said the damage will likely exceed $100 million for this year alone

Wheat, corn and soybeans are grown in the area. Experts say farmers near the levees will find their topsoil washed away, and those farther away will find a lot of debris washed up.

The Army Corps of Engineers detonated the levee this week to protect the town of Cairo, Ill. from Mississippi River flooding.

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