Jun 1, 2011 6:37 PM by Maddie Garrett

Drought, Floods Wreak Havoc on Farmers

This is a unique year for South Louisiana, as we experience extreme drought and record floods. And this climate is wreaking havoc on Louisiana farms.

Where there's water, there's too much of it. At the same time the rest of the state sits parched.

"It's adversely affecting crops, livestock, anybody involved in agriculture needs rain and is so desperate to have it," said Stan Dutile with the LSU Agriculture Center.

2011 is shaping up to be one of the driest years yet for Louisiana. Most of Acadiana has received only about half the rain that normally falls from January through May.

"A lot of our (soy) bean farmers have actually quit planting because it's just too dry, they're just not going to plant any," said Dutile.

Many soy bean, sugar cane and corn crops are already showing signs of stress from drought. Some rice farmers are now having to pump in water in an effort to save their crops.

Ryan Dore grows sugar cane and soy beans in Lafayette, Iberia and Vermillion Parishes. He's been involved in agriculture all his life and said this is the worst drought he's ever seen.

"I'm a young guy and I really haven't seen this kind of dry weather as extreme as it is," said Dore.

Dore said if rain doesn't come soon, he'll be looking at some serious losses.

"I'm not going to stand here and lie to you, I am worried," he said.

Meanwhile, other farmers in the Atchafalaya Basin have already lost everything due to the mighty Mississippi.

"Once flood waters recede it'll be too late to replant anything for this growing season so those people have actually lost a hundred percent of their crops," explained Dutile.

However there is a silver lining -- because the ground is so dry it's soaking up a lot of the flood waters, reducing the amount of damage in some areas.



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