As a teacher and farmer, throughout my life I’ve had the fortune to grow America’s food and teach the next generation how to care for the land. But I’m concerned because every year we witness increasingly severe weather and flooding.

Flooding impacts North Dakota homes, businesses, schools, and farms. It’s now overtaken all other natural disasters as the most costly in our country. Those hardest hit are our rural communities because so often folks don’t have the same level of resources or planning to keep them safe.

That’s why Congress should pass common-sense legislation to require tougher building standards where federal dollars are spent, make sure that people moving into a home know their flood risk, and recognize that nature-based solutions like wetlands and bioswales will help reduce flood damage.

Studies show that investing in flood mitigation saves society $5-$7 for every dollar spent. It would also boost a much needed economic recovery following COVID-19.

Congress should act now. Unless we are proactive, North Dakota and our entire nation are vulnerable the next time floodwaters begin to rise.