Some Farmers Replanting After Flooding, But A Gamble At This Stage

Jul 14, 2014

Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Butch Calhoun
Credit / Arkansas Agriculture Department

Arkansas farmers are working to salvage the current growing season, but losses in some areas are expected to be huge.

"I've seen estimates as high as over $200 million just on soybeans," said Arkansas Agriculture Secretary Butch Calhoun.  Corn and rice were also hard hit when 10 inches of rain fell in east Arkansas on June 29.  Repeated rainfall since has further complicated recovery efforts.

Calhoun says many growers are replanting, but that it's risky at this point.

"Replanting is a way of life in agriculture, just one of the gambles farmers take, but normally we're able to replant in June, not in the middle of July when there's such a short time left in the growing season," Calhoun said.

"I'm a former farmer myself.  I used to think anything planted after the first of July was a real risk and so here we go at the middle of July and people are still planting soybeans."

Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe has asked that 10 counties be declared agricultural disaster areas, which would provide some assistance to growers, but so far there has been no word from federal officials.  Damage assessments have been ongoing.

Calhoun hopes to have a better idea about the amount of loses to the industry soon.

"Now I don't know what it'll be, it's hard to tell with what's salvaged and the weather we have the rest of the year, but it's going to be a big hit.  And row-crop farmers are taking a hit now 'cause corn and soybean prices are lower than they've been in several years, so farmers are getting hit with a double-edge sword this year," Calhoun said.