Study: $35M in crops lost to early summer flooding - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Study: $35M in crops lost to early summer flooding

CROSS COUNTY, AR (KAIT)- The flooding that began in late June will lead to millions of dollars in lost crop value for Arkansas farmers, according to a study by the University of Arkansas.

Arkansas counties are expected to lose more than $35 million in crop value. Monroe, Poinsett, and Woodruff counties were affected the most with $4.5 million dollars in losses.Craighead, Jackson, and Lee counties each had losses of less than $1.5 million. Keith Lockley is a soybean and rice farmer in Cross County and said flooding earlier this summer put him in a tough position. 

"You have to be optimistic when you're in the agriculture industry," Lockley. " It's put us behind the 8 ball, normally you try to get the crops planted by July 4th."

Lockley said it only took 2 hours of rainfall before his crops were underwater. He has 100 acres of soybeans that was planted at the end of July. 

"By our calculations, we probably going to lose about 10 to 15 bushels yield per acre," Lockley said. 

The study was broken down into 4 different categories: 

  • Total loss: $17.6 million

  • Replanting costs: $18 million

  • Slowed development. Floods slowed crop development. 

  • Prevented planting. Flooding prompted farmers to cancel planting plans for flooded acres.

Lockley said there is no room for error in agriculture, just like any other business. He has been working the land in Cross County for three years and said he has seen worse conditions. 

"In 2011, we had a flood come out and it wipes out entire crop out but we farmed in the flood zones so that's something we expected. Here we're not in the flood zone so it's something you do not expect," he said. 

Lockley hopes to break even with his soybean harvest. He said his crop insurance is going to be a big help. 

"If this kind of event happens again, it will be very detrimental to the agriculture industry in this part of the state," he said.

According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, in 2013 Arkansas farmers produced nearly $2 million worth of soybeans.

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