Flooding Causes Problems for Farmers

Jackson County, AR- Rebecca Smith Reporting

The Cache River sits just a couple of feet away from Sammie Montgomery's back door.

Montgomery says the water spills over the river's banks when the area gets hit hard with a lot of rain.

He says he's had to do quite a bit of work on the home, in order to make it flood proof.

"When he first built it it was eight inches lower than it is right now and the water came up to the floor and when it did that we raised it up eight inches more and it eliminated the problem," said Montgomery.

Even harder hit are the crops in the surrounding farmlands.

Marty Eaton manages some of the soybean and rice fields in the area.

He says the rain is good for some crops, but not for others.

"Right now the trade-off is good, i mean some of the later beans could still use the rain. It needed the moisture, the rice was basically done. I mean it's hurt the rice crop a little bit, as far as harvesting. It's delayed it some," said Eaton.

Local farmers say the drainage issue is the biggest problem they're facing now.

Waters normally drain out into the Cache River but when it comes all at once the water has to just sit there.

"Saturday night and Sunday morning we got four inches plus that. Now, we've got a lot of flooded areas, especially soybeans, it's probably going to ruin them because the water's going to sit here for three to four days, or sometimes a week, and it's probably going to kill them," said local farmer, Jerome Boyd.

A flood watch is still in effect for Woodruff and Jackson counties.

The National Weather Service expects the Cache River to rise another foot above flood level after Monday Night's rains.

"Most of the flooding was not that substantial. Had conditions been different, if we weren't actually having drought-like conditions before this we would have seen some substantial flooding. However, this is a lot like when the remnants of hurricane rita came across the state in 2005 we saw some large amounts, but we were so dry we didn't see any substantial flooding," said Steve Bays, a hydrologist for the National Weather Service.

The cold front that's predicted for later on in the week could help the crops.

Farmers say it's the combination of stagnant water and heat that's most to blame for ruining crops.

Questions, Comments or Story Ideas? e-mail me at rsmith@kait8.com