Home Farm Equipment Arkansas flood causes uncertainty for farmers

Arkansas flood causes uncertainty for farmers


Farmers in southeast Arkansas are nonetheless reeling from a June storm system that dumped roughly 20 inches of rain on the world in a 48-hour span. Greater than every week after the torrential downpours, some fields nonetheless stay beneath water and plenty of farmers are nonetheless unsure about their subsequent steps.

“It’s just a disaster,” mentioned John Kelly White, who farms in Lincoln County, Ark. White noticed 1,400 acres of his crops fully submerged within the deluge. He had early planted a very good portion of his soybeans. Earlier than the rain, the beans have been already knee excessive. Now, he’s beginning over.

“I had already booked to sell beans, and I can’t get out of that contract,” White mentioned. “My only hope is to replant here at the end of June.”

Throughout the area, farmers are echoing White’s feedback. Hundreds of acres of soybeans, cotton and corn have been destroyed. The standing of many rice acres remains to be unclear. Hundreds of thousands of {dollars} of crop inputs had already been utilized, and farmers are uncertain they’ll recoup their prices when contemplating the yield potential of late-planted soybeans.

Fellow Lincoln County farmer John Allen McGraw had simply completed planting soybeans on June 5 — two days earlier than the flood. He figures he’ll must replant about 900 acres.

“When I look at my historical yield averages, my early soybeans typically yield about 70 bu/a, while my June beans drop to 40 bu/a,” McGraw mentioned. “That’s the difference in being early.”

“That’s also what’s so devastating about this flood,” he provides. “We’ve seen flooding before, but never this much and never this late.”

John Allen McGraw

John Allen McGraw’s farm store in Lincoln Co. Ark. This picture was taken on June 16, 2021 … greater than every week after flooding started.

The timing is very problematic. Whereas the bottom has dried sufficient for some farmers to start planting once more, others we spoke with could not be capable to get began till subsequent week. In fact, that may push harvest a lot later. Based mostly on current autumn rainfall occasions, some producers are skeptical that late fall climate might be conducive to a very good harvest. There are additionally considerations about having time to finish post-harvest discipline work earlier than subsequent spring.

“We’re hoping for a pleasant fall, but there are just so many unknowns,” mentioned Wayne Smith, who misplaced greater than 1,000 acres of soybeans, and will doubtlessly lose a further 1,100 acres of rice. “It’s going to affect more than just this crop season. The farmers here are going to need a lot of help.”

Publish-flood administration assembly

The College of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture is internet hosting a gathering Monday, June 21 to reply farmers’ post-flood manufacturing questions. The assembly might be held on the Dumas Group Heart.

Registration opens at 4:30 p.m. The assembly will start at 5 p.m., and dinner might be served. The Dumas Group Heart is situated at 18 Belmont Road in Dumas.

If potential, individuals are requested to RSVP by finish of day Friday, June 18, for a head rely. RSVP by calling the Rohwer Analysis Station at 870-644-3101 and contacting Larry Earnest at extension 222, or Tanya Hughes, extension 221.

“Last week’s rains have been devastating to our farmers,” Earnest mentioned. “They’ve got lots of questions. They want to know what to do next; what, if anything can be salvaged, and what role crop insurance plays in the situation.”

The agenda will embrace the next:

  • Welcome — Larry Earnest, director Rohwer Analysis Station
  • Acres affected — Vic Ford, affiliate VP-ag/pure resources-extension
  • Cotton — Invoice Robertson, extension cotton agronomist.
  • Soybeans — Jeremy Ross, extension soybean agronomist
  • Corn — Jason Kelley, extension wheat and feed grains agronomist
  • Rice — Jarrod Hardke, extension rice agronomist
  • Soil fertility — Trent Roberts, affiliate professor – soil fertility/soil testing
  • Water administration — Chris Henry, affiliate professor/extension engineer
  • Weeds — Tommy Butts, extension weed scientist
  • Bugs — Extension entomologists Gus Lorenz, Ben Thrash and Nick Bateman.
  • Crop insurance coverage — Adam Frazer, Delta Crop Insurance coverage.

Following the audio system, the ground might be open for a question-and-answer interval.       

The assembly may also be seen on Fb Dwell on the College of Arkansas System Extension – UAEX Fb web page beginning at 4:45 p.m.

Wayne SmithArkansasFlooding2021-7.JPG

Wayne Smith says this corn was tasseling earlier than the flood. Picture taken 6/16/21.

Assist wanted

Final week, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson declared a state of emergency in response to the flooding. The declaration directs $100,000 in catastrophe funds for use on the discretion of the state emergency administration director. Farmers can apply for low curiosity loans. Those we spoke with say that’s simply not sufficient.

“We’re going to be close to doubling our expenses for this crop and may only see half the yield that we normally would,” mentioned John Ross, Desha County, Ark., farmer.  “We don’t need a loan. We need federal assistance.”

Ross misplaced about 2,500 acres of crops. He had already spent about 85% of his yearly price range for crop inputs. He says he’s taking it “half-day by half-day.”

“I worry we’ll lose farms in the area if we don’t get some help,” he provides.

The farmers we spoke with have been united on this challenge.

“Everyone wants a bailout,” mentioned Smith. “We need one here in Arkansas.”


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