Early last week, the U.S. Corps of Engineers breached a levee containing the swelling Mississippi River in an effort to mitigate damages from impending flooding. The action attracted the ire of local farmers, many of whom argued that their insurance would not cover the so called man-made disaster.
The waters of the Mississippi continue to rise despite the breached levee, leading the Corps of Engineers to open the Morganza Spillway to mitigate the happening. The plan leads the Louisiana Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner, Mike Strain, to pressure the U.S. Department of Agriculture the designate opening of the spillway as a natural disaster.
Opening the spillway will divert flood waters from the Mississippi to the nearby Atchafalaya River basin. At risk is more than 18,000 acres of farmland, home to cotton, soybean, rice and a number of other crops. Once the Morganza Spillways is opened, this season’s crops will be ruined as the area becomes inundated with water. While farmers in the area decry the initiative, saying that their insurance will not cover damages, Strain says there is no other course of action.
“Flood waters will overcome the Morganza floodgates regardless of whether the spillway is opened or not,” insist Stain. He is pressuring the federal government to classify the action as a natural disaster for the sake of the farmers. If it is declared as such, insurers will have to compensate farmers for lost crops. He is hopeful that the government will grant his request.