Update: Current State of Crop in Arkansas

Aug 26, 2016
Rice fields still under 6.5 feet of water in
Greene County (Photo credit: Dan Hosman)

LITTLE ROCK, AR -- The University of Arkansas Rice Research and Extension Center has recently begun assessing potential losses and the economic impact of flooding across the state, specifically in northeast Arkansas. Rice extension agronomist Dr. Jarrod Hardke has estimated 40,000 acres of rice have already been impacted. Depending on the level of future rain, that number could possibly reach 100,000 acres of flooded rice.

"Knowing where and how far this will carry until the flooding stops depends on additional rain which will just exaggerate the problem," said Hardke.

Counties affected include Randolph, Lawrence, Clay and now Craighead and Jackson as a result of the Cache River flooding. Hardke also stated that a few days of flooded rice is still recoverable. Seven days of a flooded crop is recoverable about half the time. However, ten days of a flood leads to an unrecoverable crop. The flooded rice acres in Arkansas have the potential to be complete losses.

Grower Michael Cureton reported that his farm is one of those affected by the severe weather. He has been relying on his levees to keep out as much water as possible and has been fortunate to keep the water pumped off his rice, but most farmers are not able to do that.

According to Cureton, "I am very concerned that people do not understand how serious this situation is for farmers in northeast Arkansas and Louisiana when combined with below cost commodity prices."

Arkansas grower Joe Christian echoed Cureton's concerns. "Lots of acres around me, north of me, are totally lost-- both rice and soybeans," said Christian. "Rice is completely submerged.  We think 10,000 acres in Craighead County along and over 100,000 total. The Black River and the Cache River have totally overflowed. These farms may not survive and we just can't lose crops right now."

The Arkansas Rice Federation is contacting the Governor's office to use all possible resources to assist those impacted by the flood and cooperating with his staff to ensure the data necessary to declare a disaster area is available.