Home Farm Equipment Hurricane Ida: The aftermath for ag infrastructure

Hurricane Ida: The aftermath for ag infrastructure


Whereas many growers within the Mississippi Delta escaped the brunt of Hurricane Ida’s wrath, the storm wreaked havoc on agricultural infrastructure close to the mouth of the Mississippi River. And consultants say the results may very well be felt for a while. 

“Transferring ahead, the million-dollar query is how shortly can repairs be accomplished to the broken export services and transport channel itself, stated Mike Steenhoek, government director of the Soy Transportation Coalition.  

In depth and chronic energy outages slowed injury assessments, and at our publication deadline, consultants have been nonetheless uncertain of the total extent of structural injury and crop loss. Parts of the Mississippi River remained closed for days resulting from energy strains within the water, successfully reducing off river visitors. Two Cargill grain elevators in Louisiana suffered in depth injury from the storm, additional including to the logistical nightmare. 

“The damage to the Cargill grain elevator in Reserve, Louisiana is significant, both due to the scale of the damage and the importance of this location to U.S. crop exports,” stated Steenhoek. “This elevator handles a considerable portion of America’s grain exports, and it’s critical they are back up and running before the peak export time period.” 

The U.S. Division of Agriculture experiences that for the week ending August sixteenth (two days earlier than the Coast Guard shut down the river resulting from Hurricane Ida) greater than 10 million bushels of soybeans and greater than 15 million bushels of corn have been exported through the Mississippi Gulf area. Steenhoek stated in mid-October to mid-November it is not uncommon for 40 – 50 million bushels of soybeans to be exported from the Gulf area. 

“If the export facilities in the region are not back up and running at normal capacity by that time, our throughput will diminish, and we will essentially be attaching a garden hose to a fire hydrant,” Steenhoek continued. “Production is expected to be strong. International demand remains robust. However, if we do not have an infrastructure that can accommodate the journey between supply and demand, farmer profitability will be impacted.” 

Injury to Louisiana ag 

“If you draw a line from Terrebonne Parish north to the Felicianas, everything east will see some damage,” stated Kurt Guidry, LSU AgCenter area director and agricultural economist. “We’re getting experiences of serious injury to fencing, buildings and farm constructions. 

Guidry suspected the infrastructure loss brought on by Ida would be much like what the southwestern portion of the state skilled with Hurricane Laura in 2020. 

LSU AgCenter consultants say timber, sugarcane, livestock, soybeans, fruit and vegetable crops, and the horticulture business additionally skilled losses of their state. 

Sugarcane is grown all through the impacted space. Louisiana has roughly 500,000 acres of sugarcane, as much as 25% was doubtless affected by Ida, stated AgCenter sugarcane specialist Kenneth Gravois. 

The sugarcane crop within the southwestern a part of the state was spared, he stated, however injury may fluctuate within the southeast. 

“Lodging of sugarcane occurred in many places, and that will slow planting,” he stated. 

In areas the place Ida’s winds flattened the crop, harvesting shall be troublesome and sugar restoration shall be lowered. 

Renee Castro, an AgCenter space sugarcane agent who covers a lot of the affected space, stated the cane was flat in Lafourche Parish.  

potential timber injury, Guidry estimated that the area represents about 5% to as excessive as 22% of whole manufacturing in Louisiana.  

Guidry stated there are about 172,000 head of cattle in southeast Louisiana, and companies are working to get them watered and fed.  

Dr. Christine Navarre, AgCenter extension veterinarian, stated a multiagency staff consisting of the AgCenter, Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation, Louisiana Division of Agriculture and Forestry, LSU College of Veterinary Medication, Louisiana Tech College, the Louisiana Cattlemen’s Affiliation and different livestock teams have been working to get wanted assets to impacted animals. 

“In Ida’s aftermath, 1,200 square bales of hay were delivered to the Louis Mouch Jr. Multi-Purpose Facility in Port Allen and to the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine,” Navarre stated. “Many volunteers showed up to help unload.”  

Many of the hay was distributed, and he or she stated different provides are being collected and distribution areas are being recognized farther east and south. 

Christine Navarre / LSU AgCenter

Volunteers assist to distribute hay donated for livestock affected by Hurricane Ida. 

Navarre stated anybody requesting or donating hay, feed, pasture or trucking ought to go to https://lafarmbureau.org/hayclearinghouse. For requests for different help, contact your native LSU AgCenter brokers, Farm Bureau brokers or native workplace of emergency preparedness. 

Shiny aspect? 

Steenhoek stated of all of the discouraging experiences from the area, he was inspired to see the levee and water pumping infrastructure at New Orleans face up to main injury from the hurricane. 

“Much of this infrastructure was completed after Hurricane Katrine in 2005.  As our nation continues to debate an infrastructure investment strategy, may we recognize that the best time to invest in resiliency and redundancy is before the catastrophe, rather than after it.  Hurricane Ida has offered a compelling reminder of this truth.” 


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