Natural disaster is something that we, as farmers, all know can happen but pray very hard will not. One tornado, hurricane or flood, and all your hard work is wiped out and you have to start over from scratch. Rice farmers in Louisiana and Arkansas know this all too well.
The torrential rains and flooding in the Deep South have wreaked havoc on people there: More than 60,000 have lost their homes and 102,00o are applying for emergency assistance, according to a report from CBS News. To add insult to injury, the rains started right at rice harvest time, and that could leave the whole country hurting.
Half of the U.S.’s rice crop comes from Arkansas and 15 percent comes from Louisiana, CBS News says. The fields of rice farmers in these areas are becoming waterlogged, which has caused crop damage and, for some farmers, complete losses.
Louisiana alone is expected to incur $14.3 million worth of damages to their rice crops, according to reporting by AgFax.com, though this estimate provided by extension agents is highly speculative, as the weather conditions are constantly changing. In Arkansas, only about 2 percent of the rice harvest was gathered before the rains started, according to the Arkansas Daily Gazette.
Other crops are suffering, as well, including corn and sorghum, which also peaked during the flooding, and I suspect small-scale vegetable growers are having a rough time, as well.
If you’re farming in an area prone to natural disaster, make sure you have a disaster plan. Here are some articles that can help: