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March floods to cost Louisiana farmers at least $10 million

Tammi Arender

Historic March floods will cost Louisiana farmers at least $10 million in lost revenue and damage to crops and livestock, according to a preliminary damage report released Monday by the LSU AgCenter.

LSU AgCenter economist Kurt Guidry has been surveying the damage to farms around the state. Guidry said $10 million is a conservative estimate of the flood damage to the agriculture industry.

Guidry said even though floodwaters have mostly receded from the heaviest-hit northern parishes, that water is now creating problems farther south in places that didn't flood when the torrential rain first hit, including Franklin and Catahoula parishes.

Cornfields in north Louisiana saw some of the most damage. As many as 55,000 acres of corn were flooded and will have to be replanted. It’s not only row crops that took a hit.

Guidry said at least 400 head of beef cattle perished in the floods, and livestock operations are faced with higher costs in relocating their herds and losing available land for grazing.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that several Louisiana commodities are behind the five-year average pace for planting and harvesting. Only about half of Louisiana's corn acres were planted as of April 3, while 82 percent of acreage had been planted by that time on average in the past five years. 

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