Residents and farmers from the eastern part of Arkansas are getting their first looks at the destroyed homes and ruined farmland that have resulted from the massive flooding in that region.
Many parts of the state rely primarily on agriculture as their main industry. According to the Arkansas Farm Bureau, an estimated $500 million has been lost in crops due to farm flooding, with an estimated millions more having been lost as a result of other damage such as to equipment.
The Farm Bureau also stated that agriculture typically brings $16 billion into the economy of the state every year. For this reason, the direct losses experienced by farmers and ranchers is expected to be far from the only financial injury felt as a result of the cropland flooding.
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President of the Bureau, Randy Veach, who resides in Manila (Mississippi County) and is a soybean, cotton, and rice farmer, stated that this year Arkansas had suffered “flood levels never seen before.” He explained that it will take months to be able to tally the true extent of the flooding.
He also added that the Bureau’s current estimation of losses does not include repairs to farm equipment, the farmland itself, infrastructure, or the loss of stored grain, which may well drive the total losses up by tens of millions more.
The Bureau’s director of commodity and regulatory affairs, Warren Carter, said that it may be possible to offset some of the loss of the crops by planting other types of crops. For example, it is anticipated that soybean acreage will take off, as it has a notably greater planting window than other crops such as cotton, corn, and rice.