Flooding in Louisiana and heavy rain in Arkansas are making the rice markets nervous and pushing prices to five-year-highs.
Rice futures climbed on Tuesday in response to the emerging weather disaster in the Delta. In Arkansas, the rice harvest is just beginning, but is already underway in Louisiana, with 55% of the state’s rice crop harvested.
“There are very legitimate fears that the significant part of the crop that hasn’t been harvested will be lost,” said Jack Scoville of the PRICE Futures Group.
Growers are worried too. Dustin Harrell, a research agronomist and extension rice specialist at Louisiana State University, offered a “highly speculative estimates” earlier this week that Louisiana rice growers could already be seeing more than $14 million in losses from the flooding damage. The state has seen more than 20 inches of rain, and 20 parishes have already been declared “major disaster areas” by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.