LITTLE ROCK — The late April rains that inundated much of Arkansas have hit Arkansas agriculture at one of the worst possible times, causing losses for both the row-crop and livestock sectors.
Planting season for row-crops was well underway, and the flooding will force many farmers to replant crops once the floodwaters recede. Rural roads and fencing, along with barns and other structures, were some of the most significant issues for livestock producers.
“Unfortunately, these storms caught both livestock and row-crop farmers at a very critical time,” said Randy Veach, president of the Arkansas Farm Bureau. “We have livestock farmers who have lost cattle in the floods, miles of fencing has been washed away and there are many rural roads and bridges that are impassable.
“And for the row-crop farmers, this will be a big blow, as much of the rice and corn had already been planted. What happens with rain the rest of this week, and how existing floodwaters are managed by the Corps of Engineers, will determine just how big a problem this could be.”
Veach said these water-levels seem similar to the 2011 flooding, when 63 counties were declared disaster areas and more than 1 million acres were under water. The losses to Arkansas agriculture from the 2011 floods were estimated around $500 million
“This has the potential to match the damages seen in 2011,” Veach said.
The National Weather Service at Little Rock reported that 23-hour totals through 7 a.m. Sunday included “a whopping 8.50 inches at Savoy (Washington County), 7.85 inches at Guy (Faulkner County) and 7.82 inches at Georgetown (White County).”
Veach indicated Farm Bureau economists would be evaluating planting reports and water levels and working with the state Agriculture Department to help get a better feel for the potential impact to Arkansas agriculture.
Arkansas Farm Bureau is a nonprofit, private advocacy organization of more than 190,000 families throughout the state working to improve farm and rural life.
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