CALCASIEU PARISH, LOUISIANA– Hurricane Laura did destroy much of the farmland in the South Western part of Louisiana. Avery Davidson, from the Louisiana Farm Bureau, says, “What Hurricane Laura did was pretty much make a swath of destruction when it comes to agriculture across the state of Louisiana. We are looking at farmers who could lose their entire crop.”
Agriculture in Louisiana contributes around ten billion dollars to the state’s economy. At only two weeks past the storm, state officials are still assessing the cost of the damage, which leaves an unsavory dilemma for farmers.
Back during Hurricane’s Katrina and Rita, the Louisiana Farm Bureau established a relief fund that is back in action to help farmers affect by Hurricane Laura.
Richard Fontenot from R&M Farms says, “It’s heartbreaking and takes an emotional toll. I have friends that had dynamic damage to their grain bends and lost roofs and have wet grain. So you all of your hard work is done and then a storm comes through and rips the top off and you can’t do anything it.”
This year’s rice was planted in March, at the height of the coronavirus shutdowns and now much of the yield is lost because the harvest ripened right before the destructive appetite of Laura. The rice harvested in the bins sat without power to cool and dry it off and it either sprouted or rotted. However, the state’s prime cattle, sugarcane, corn, soybean, nursery, and poultry were also greatly affected.
“Agriculture is the key to these local communities in the southwest part of the state. Without agriculture there is no viable economic bias to survive and to flourish,” says Fontenot.