TILLAR, Ark. – About 600,000 acres of farmland were destroyed in the flooding more than two weeks ago in Southeast Arkansas. This is costing more than $200,000,000 in crop damage.
Close to 20 inches of rain ripped through Wes Kirkpatrick’s farmland in Desha County leaving nothing but dead stems as the water subsided.
“It’s just a hopeless feeling really,” Kirkpatrick said.
16-hundred acres, more than half of his soybean crop, is wiped out.
“The fields that were there three weeks ago are gone and we’re starting all over,” Kirkpatrick said.
He’s just one of many farmers in the region going through the exact same thing.
“Roughly 600,000 acres of crops have been impacted,” University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Associate Vice President Dr. Vic Ford said.
He said the flooding is likely to cause at least $205,000,000 in crop damage.
“We’re expecting those estimates to go up to about $250,000,000,” Dr. Ford said.
It’s not just the crops destroyed that’s putting a dent in the farmers’ pockets, but the cost to try and replace what was lost. Kirkpatrick’s crew is back to work planting where they can, but some fields are at a standstill.
“This still has water and this is two and a half weeks after the rain event. That’s probably going to be another ten days to two weeks before that’s dry enough to hold a tractor. The later we go into the summer before we can replant the less our yield potential is,” Kirkpatrick said.
This means they are spending twice the money on half the crop.
“Financially it’s going to be hard to overcome,” Kirkpatrick said.
He said there is no other choice than put the seed in the ground and hope it grows.
“The best thing we can hope for is to break even and that’s likely not going to happen,” Kirkpatrick said.
He said his corn and cotton fields look like they survived the rains, but he won’t know until harvest how much if any was lost.