WASHINGTON, Aug. 23, 2016 - Louisianans are still waiting
for the water to recede, cleaning up the damage, taking stock of their losses
and trying to salvage what they can from the devastation of recent flooding.
President Barack Obama is scheduled
to visit some of the worst hit areas today, but farmers and ranchers may be
too busy trying to save their livelihoods or just count up the losses.
The rains and flooding hit at the worst possible time for many, just as farmers
were harvesting their soybeans or preparing to plant sugarcane.
It’s really bad out there and the Louisiana Farm Bureau has been documenting
some of the pain by interviewing farmers. Below are some snippets of those
- Ricky Rousel, soybean and sugarcane farmer near Convent,
La.:Rousel, standing near 200 acres of flooded soybeans that he said will be a
complete loss, expects to lose about $200,000 this year. “If it doesn’t quit
raining, it’s going to impact me big time because I really believe that these
are lost. We should be planting sugarcane and the soybeans should have been
- Stacy Albert, sugarcane farmer in Lafayette Parish: Albert,
who farms 2,600 acres of sugarcane, said his fields were hit with 24 inches in
24 hours. “The biggest concern right now is finding work for the guys who are
here to plant right now. Our whole labor force is here … right now. With the
mills starting processing on the 27th of September, we’re down to about six
weeks to get a crop planted.”
- Richard Fontenot, soybean and rice grower in Evangeline
Parish:“We had catastrophic losses across the farm – both soybeans and rice.
Between the rainfall and the flooding, I’m afraid we’re going to get a
tremendous amount of quality loss with the germination of the seed out in the
- Joy Womack, dairy farmer in East Baton Rouge Parish: “You
can’t cut any hay. We have no extra hay this year … so that’s making it hard on
us and everyone else in the community because no one has hay for their cows
this year. It’s a hard road that we have to look down, but we’re still blessed
because we didn’t lose a life and we still have our homes and there’s so many
people who lost everything.”
Louisiana Agriculture Commissioner meets flood victims. All
this weekCommissioner Mike Strain will on the road, meeting with some of the
farmers hit hardest by the recent flooding in southern Louisiana, according to
the USA Rice Federation. The commissioner, along with officials from USDA’s
Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service and the
Louisiana State University AgCenter will be holding several meetings in different
locations for farmers.
A visit from Japanese agriculture and food regulators. Representatives
from Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture and Ministry of Health, Labor and
Welfare arrived in the U.S. Sunday for a week-long trip, according to the U.S.
The Japanese officials are scheduled to visit Louisiana, North Carolina,
Maryland and Washington, D.C. in an effort to get a better understanding
of biotechnology laws and policies. While in D.C. they are scheduled to meet
with officials from the USDA, EPA, FDA and CropLife America.
Trump denies reversal on deportation plan. Donald Trump denies that he’s
flip-flopped on his call to deport illegal immigrants, but his advisers
continue to send mixed messages. During an interview with Fox and Friends
yesterday, Trump said he is working with “people in the Hispanic community” to
come up with a deportation policy. “We want to come up with a really fair but
firm answer,” he said.
Trump was supposed to deliver a speech on immigration during an appearance in
Akron, Ohio, last night, but CNN reported that the remarks were being
rescheduled and that his policy was being “fine-tuned.”
Trump has called for creating some kind of “deportation force” to remove
illegal immigrants from the country, but his new campaign manager, Kellyanne
Conway, said during an interview over the weekend that his policy was yet “to
be determined.” Trump’s top adviser on agriculture policy, Sam Clovis, has
indicated that Trump couldn’t back down on his deportation threat, even for
farm workers. “We made a promise to the American people and we’re going to keep
it,” Clovis told Agri-Pulse.
USDA highlights trade deal successes. With the fate of the Trans-Pacific
Partnership uncertain, the USDA is highlighting the successes of the CAFTA-DR
trade agreement. U.S. agricultural exports to Costa Rica, the Dominican
Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua more than doubled from
2005 through 2015 because of the agreement, according to a new
reportreleased by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service.
“On a value basis, U.S. exports of corn, beef, cotton and various high-value,
processed foods experienced immediate benefits,” the report concluded. “The
largest increases in U.S. imports were for tropical products such as sugar,
fresh fruit, cocoa beans and instant coffee.”
In 2005, the year before CAFTA-DR was implemented, The U.S. exported $1.9
billion worth of agricultural commodities to the six countries, according to
the report. In 2015, that total was up to $4.2 billion. One of the biggest
increases was in shipments of poultry. Exports were valued at $60.8 million in
2005 and $216.5 million in 2015.
Phil Brasher contributed to this report.
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