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Farmers Suffering During Flood But Help is Coming

By Daniel Cherry | Published 20 May 2011 03:14pm | comments
Overflowing well spills water into cropland

The costs are piling up as floodwater sits on hundreds of thousands of acres in the Delta. MPB’s Daniel Cherry reports from Tunica how state and federal officials are offering assistance to those in need.

George Perry’s farm sits against the levee. The pressure of the water is actually pushing water under the levee and out of an irrigation well in his fields. While surveying his crops from his truck he says he’s hoping the fields dry out in time.

“If the water stays on a crop like that it’s going to hurt the crop…there’s no way around it. It’s turning yellow. It takes all the oxygen out of the soil for the water to be on it that long. The roots start getting to where they rot.”

Perry says it’s going to take weeks before he’s able to plant some areas. Then he hopes to salvage some of the growing season. The flood means huge losses for some farmers. Michael Scuse with the USDA says assistance is available.

“It’s very hard to continue farming and go into that next year. Your banker isn’t going to understand why you’re not going to be able to make that payment. So it’s important that we try to help our producers as best we can under the very difficult circumstances.”

Sceuse says farmers should contact their county agriculture officials to get the aid process going.
Dallas Tonsager is the Undersecretary with the USDA’s Rural Development Department. He says they’re coordinating with local offices to find apartments for those who are displaced.

“The vacancies in those apartments, we’re giving a list to FEMA so when they’ve got somebody who has a problem with their home they’ve got a chance to maybe move into some of those apartments at least for a while. While they try to recover so that’s our immediate response.”

Tonsager says housing is the most immediate need. The USDA will continue assessing damage as water recedes.

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Overflowing well spills water into cropland


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