Thousands of Louisiana homes and businesses were damaged and thousands of acres of crops were swamped in August’s historic flooding.
According to early estimates, agricultural losses from the flooding are around $110 million.
In a report from the Louisiana State University AgCenter, most losses are from corn and soybeans.
Samuel Buller’s first crop as a farmer is ruined. The St. Landry Parish feel was overrun by backwater flooding. The current was so strong it knocked over his rice stand, destroying his crop.
“I had a beautiful-looking rice crop starting out this year,” said Buller. “It looked awesome. The storm came through and wiped it out overnight. Now, it’s all sprouted, growing. Don’t have much to work with now.”
Buller, 21, planned to second crop his rice fields, but won’t be able to because of the flooding. While this year has been a struggle, he’s making plans for next year.
“We’re just going to lick our wounds and hope for the better next year,” said Buller.
In terms of acreage, soybeans are Louisiana’s largest crop. St. Landry Parish has more than 90,000 acres of soybeans. Now floodwaters are receded, growers are seeing the damage up close, but the full extent of the damage won’t be known right away.
“It’s very questionable at this point where the soybean damage is going to lie, but we have seen entire fields submerged, and we feel certain those fields will be a 100 percent loss,” said Vince Deshotel, LSU AgCenter County Agent.
Another farmer, Charlie Fontenot, has fields that were submerged, and he, too, expects a total loss.
Fontenot expects to harvest some of the damaged fields, and he plans to keep those beans separate from this better fields.
“We have 250 acres on a certain far number that are going to be a zero,” said Fontenot. “It’s going to be totally wiped out.”