Tunnel collapse could cost Wyoming, Nebraska $89 million in economic losses

The collapse of an irrigation tunnel near Fort Laramie could cost Wyoming and Nebraska roughly $89 million in economic losses if affected crops are a total loss, according to a new report by researchers from the two states’ universities.

“If farmers are unable to sell these commodities, there will be a negative impact not only on our farmers but also on main streets,” Jessica Groskopf, a regional economist with the University of Nebraska Extension, said in a UW press release Friday. “It is important for our communities to understand the hardships our farmers are facing and realize the loss of these crops will ripple through our economy.”

The tunnel collapsed on July 17, potentially affecting 107,000 acres of farmland here and in Nebraska, according to UW. The 2,200-foot long irrigation tunnel is part a system that spans more than 100 miles and cuts between the two states. In all, more than 700 farms have been without water for a month.