Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation and Mississippi State University Extension recently hosted a post-flood agricultural community meeting in Ruleville.
The meeting gave farmers the opportunity to discuss agronomic considerations, crop insurance, crop fertility, residual herbicides, replant options, last season weed and insect control, and the management of existing crops with representatives from different government agencies and organizations looking to assist them.
At the beginning of June, North Mississippi farmers and ranchers received between 15-20 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, devastating crops, homes and businesses. MFBF President Mike McCormick attended the meeting to show his support for the farmers, ranchers and rural communities impacted by this rainfall event.
“I think it’s important for our farmers to know that they have people watching out for them,” McCormick said. “They have lost a lot and are frustrated with the hand they’ve been dealt. This meeting was a way to not only answer their questions, but show our support.”
A natural disaster of this magnitude will have a negative economic impact for the state with initial estimates already showing over $500 million in crop damages and more than 700,000 acres destroyed statewide.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people and no one can remember us getting this much rainfall in June ever,” Sunflower County farmer David Arant said. “This is a big disaster for our area and farmers who were already struggling are going to struggle even more now. We’ve still got 700 acres of crops under water, so dealing with everything has been pretty stressful.”
Farmers will have to determine whether to replant the same crop, try to grow something new since the planting season for most crops has already passed, or report a total loss. No matter what they decide, they will still be responsible for their overhead costs, like seed, fertilizer and equipment payments.
Dekoka Davidson, a Sunflower County farmer with 41 years of experience, sums up why she and her fellow farmers continue to move forward despite dealing with so many factors out of their control.
“We’re trying to feed the world,” she said. “We’re trying to provide for our communities. When you’re working so hard to do that and something like this happens, it’s devastating. We will push forward with a lot of hard work. We just ask you to keep us in your prayers while we do it.”
Davidson’s son, Kelly, said Farm Bureau is one of the greatest support systems they have during times like these.
“Farm Bureau is already working to make our voices heard about this issue,” he said. “With all of the uncertainty we are facing, it’s good to know we will always have this organization on our side.”