Business News

Farm damage from August floods pegged at $277 million

by Christiaan Mader

Total agricultural losses in the March and April floods are currently calculated at $367 million.

Photo courtesy LSU Ag Center/Bruce Shultz

Damage estimates now counted at $277 million from August’s catastrophic floods in Louisiana are more than double the expectations that ruminated late last month, according to a report released by LSU Ag Center economists. Combined with north Louisiana’s own calamitous flooding back in March, Louisiana’s farmers are expected to suffer a total of $367 million this year.

Much of Louisiana’s productive commercial farmland resides in Acadiana, which suffered a disastrous proportion of the damage attributed to the August floods which ravaged Louisiana’s overall economy to the tune of $8.7 billion. Rice and soy, two of the most heavily affected crops, are primarily grown around the southwest Louisiana parishes.

At press time, ABiz had not received the detailed report to calculate Acadiana-specific damages. Based on previous expectations, the damage should be significant.

LSU agricultural economist Kurt Guidry reports that soybean and rice combined for roughly $140 million in damage, a sharp uptick from previous estimates which hovered closer to $90 million.

“These impacts will likely create significant financial challenges for many agricultural producers who were already under considerable financial stress resulting from low commodity production in 2015 and low commodity prices in both 2015 and 2016,” Guidry told The Advocate.

Back in late August, Guidry and his colleagues predicted total losses of $110 million. At the time, Guidry intimated that the losses could creep closer to $200 based on preliminary reports trickling in from hard hit regions like Vermilion Parish. The most recent numbers exceed Guidry's previously cited fears.

Agriculture commissioner Mike Strain is reportedly headed to Washington D.C. this week to lobby for additional aid.

Read more about the August flood's impact on the farm industry here.