A spillway on the Mississippi River designed to prevent the river from overflowing its levees and inundating towns and cities in Louisiana will likely be opened for only the third time in history this Sunday, flooding 25,000 acres of farmland in the Atchafalaya basin and all but guaranteeing a total crop loss for farmers in the area.
Conservationists are expressing relief over the U.S. Department of Commerce’s agreement not to extend the 2018 recreational fishing season for Gulf of Mexico red snapper beyond what science warrants. An extension in 2017 had threatened the already over-exploited fishery. (No paywall)
Based on conditions at the start of August, the USDA forecast the largest U.S. cotton crop in 11 years, 20.6 million bales, but the estimate "is far from a certainty" after Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, the largest cotton-growing state, says an American Farm Bureau Federation analysis. "Severe flooding related to Hurricane Harvey is likely to have impacted major cotton producing regions."
With winds of 105 mph early today, Hurricane Harvey could be the most powerful storm to hit the United States since 2005, bringing 15 to 25 inches of rain to the Texas coast and up to 15 inches of rain to central Louisiana, said the National Weather Service, as growers scurried to harvest cotton and rice ahead of the storm.
In Louisiana, rising sea levels are threatening the traditional foodways of tribes that for hundreds of years have found their sustenance on the land and in the water, says Barry Yeoman in FERN’s latest story, "Reclaiming Native Ground," in partnership with The Lens and Gravy, the podcast of the Southern Foodways Alliance.
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.
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.
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.
Two feet of rainfall over the weekend put the rice harvest in jeopardy in Louisana, the No. 3 rice state in the country. The deluge drove up futures prices by 6 percent on Monday, the largest one-day gain in five years, said Reuters. The rain flooded rice fields ready for harvest, according to a Louisiana State University rice researcher, and came on the heels of a USDA forecast of a record crop in the Pelican State.