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Flooding Poses Big Challenges

This isn’t a horse race, but it might as well be one as the clock continues to wind down on the planting window for cotton producers in several regions. If you’re in Texas or Oklahoma, you’re dealing with a drought that started last August. If you’re in the Mid-South and farm along the Mississippi River, you are hoping that flooded acreage will somehow recede in time to plant and salvage part of this year’s cotton crop.
It would appear that acreage near the river in Missouri, Arkansas and Tennessee has a better chance of being planted than what farmers are facing in the Lower Delta. We have heard reports of farmers already planting into the bottomland near the Mississippi River in West Tennessee. Apparently, the flooded areas there receded much quicker than some observers had predicted.
If a farmer has significant acreage near Ole Man River, he’s accustomed to dealing with floods. But even the most experienced farmer had to do a double-take at some of the water levels. Nobody is putting this flood into the same category with the May 2010 floods that caused widespread damage in West Tennessee, including the Nashville area. Heavy rainfall caused that situation.
Kudos, however, must be handed out for how the levees in the Lower Delta are holding up despite the occasional seepage. True, some spillways were opened to prevent Baton Rouge and New Orleans from being overwhelmed by high waters. Unfortunately, some valuable farmland was sacrificed to achieve that objective.
As for the drought situation, it continues to be mind-boggling, if that’s the right way to describe it. Spotty rainfall has occurred in some parts of West Texas as well as the Coastal Bend, but more is needed for planting to occur by early June.
Most veteran Texas producers say they’ve seen conditions change overnight when a soaking rain occurs. That’s what they’re hoping for this time. If you ever wondered about the resilience it takes to be a farmer in Texas or Oklahoma, you are getting your answers this year.
The clock is ticking, but nobody is giving up hope