House panel approves $8.5 billion disaster bill for agriculture

Responding to calamities that range from drought in the West to floods in the Southeast, the House Agriculture Committee approved an $8.5 billion disaster relief bill on Tuesday to cover farm and ranch losses in 2020 and this year. Producers would be eligible for up to $250,000 a year in aid.

Anti-deficit lawmaker blocks House action on disaster bill

First-term Rep. John Rose, declaring it was “absolutely, without a doubt, wrong” to pass a $19.1-billion disaster relief bill without a roll call vote, blocked House action on Thursday on the legislation, which includes $3 billion for agricultural aid.

Farm lenders urge disaster aid for Southeast and Midwest

Senate Democrats proposed a $16.7 billion disaster relief bill on Tuesday, hoping to break a deadlock over aid to Puerto Rico with a package that provides more money for hurricane and flood recovery on the mainland. During a House hearing, Farm Credit System leaders called for assistance to …

U.S. crop production unlikely to suffer much from floods

Spring flooding in the northern Plains and western Corn Belt will have a marginal impact on corn and soybean plantings, according to a USDA survey of growers and initial tallies of flooded land. With normal weather and yields, there would be limited impact on production of the two most widely grown U.S. crops, thanks to the huge amount of cropland nationwide.

A quarter of Texas beef cows are in area hit by Harvey

Texas is easily the largest cattle state in the country, with 12.3 million head, or nearly one of every seven head in the U.S. inventory of 93.6 million cattle. The 54 Texas counties declared a disaster area due to damage by Hurricane Harvey hold 1.2 million beef cows, the animals that are the foundation of the cattle industry, says livestock economist David Anderson of Texas A&M.

Tens of thousands of livestock drowned in North Carolina floods

Floods spawned by Hurricane Matthew killed "at least tens of thousands of chickens, hogs and other livestock" in eastern North Carolina, said the Washington Post. Some environmentalists said the losses could reach the millions because of the large livestock production in the flooded area; North Carolina is one of the largest hog and broiler-chicken producers in the nation.

Flood count in North Carolina: 98 poultry barns, 15 hog lagoons

An environmental group, Waterkeeper Alliance, says floods from Hurricane Matthew swamped 98 barns on 27 poultry farms and 15 manure lagoons on nine hog farms in North Carolina based on reconnaissance flights over storm-hit territory. State environmental officials say their aerial observations determined one hog farm had two partial breaches, the most serious type of damage for release of animal waste from a manure lagoon.

Aerial survey says hog farms may escape catastrophic damage in North Carolina flooding

Inspectors found flooding of some manure lagoons in eastern North Carolina, but their aerial inspection "did not show any confirmed breaches or overtopping," says the state Department of Environmental Quality. Environmental groups say the floods, a result of Hurricane Matthew, are a severe test of whether large-scale livestock farms, producing millions of hogs and broiler chickens a year, can keep animal waste from mixing with storm water.

Floods will cost Louisiana ag at least $110 million

A preliminary estimate by Louisiana State University's AgCenter says the historic flooding will cost the state's ag sector $110 million in lost and reduced-quality crops, increased production costs, and infrastructure damage, The Advertiser reports.

Farmers prepare for the worst in Louisiana

With the floodwaters still rising in some parts of Louisiana, a lot of farmers with crops still in the field, as well as some with harvested crops in storage, are facing a total loss, says AgriPulse.

Initial estimate of Louisiana rice losses: $14 million

Growers in southwestern Louisiana lost around $14 million in rice, based on the current farm-gate price, in the flooding that followed torrential rains over the weekend, estimated Dustin Harrell, a Louisiana State University rice specialist. In calculating the "highly speculative" figure, Harrell relied on suggestions that 17,200 acres of rice, or 4 percent of fields, would be lost.

Floods damage Chinese farmland and crops

State media say more than 1.9 million hectares of crops were damaged by flooding in central and southern China, reports Reuters. It was not clear whether heavy rains and the resultant floods would affect the summer grain crop, forecast for 140 million tonnes.

Wetland restoration to reduce flooding now and in the future

Restoration of wetlands in the Midwest "has the potential to significantly reduce peak river flows during floods - not only now, but also in the future if heavy rains continue to increase in intensity," says Oregon State U.

Floods follow drought, threaten food crisis in Somalia

Parts of southern Somalia are being hit with floods, "aggravating the already alarming food security situation" cause for a lackluster rainy season, said the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.