Rain eases ‘crisis situation’ for area farmers

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 31, 2003

After about six weeks without rain, Concordia Parish farmers were thankful for the rain showers over the past weekend.

&uot;The rain we got this weekend got us out of a crisis situation,&uot; Glen Daniels, county agent for Concordia Parish said.

Although the rain was badly needed for crops, the lack of rain and Chinh bugs have destroyed hundreds of acres of corn and cotton crops and farmers are now trying to figure out the next step.

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&uot;There’s been a substantial amount of corn destroyed,&uot; Al Ater, a local farmer said. &uot;From Ferriday south, it’s been very hard.&uot;

Angelina Plantation lost about 300 acres of corn, according to Lee Bean, general manager at the plantation. On an average, the amount per acre for a cornfield is between $75 and $80.

Tensas Parish, where Ater’s farm is located, received more rain than Concordia and thus the crops were not as badly affected.

&uot;We’ve been very fortunate from Clayton north. We’ve had enough rain to keep us going,&uot; Ater said.

Since some farmers did lose corn or cotton crops, a choice must be made whether to plant the same crop again or another.

If farmers used a certain insecticide called Atrazine on their crops then cotton or soybeans cannot be planted, Randy Ward, manager of Ferriday Farm Equipment said. Milo, a different grain, is an option to corn.

If farmers do not replant the cotton, which is a high volume crop, it could hurt the economy.

Although this farming season has been hard, the past two or three years have also been difficult due to last year’s hurricanes and other difficult weather conditions, Ater said.

Besides weather conditions, farmers are also operating under a new farm bill.

The new bill is supposed to provide a &uot;safety net&uot; to farmers, Ater said.

For instance, if the target price for cotton is 72 cents and it is sold for 60 cents on the market the government provides farmers with a 12-cent incentive, but under certain conditions.

The conditions range from regulating what can and cannot be planted to setting the target price.

&uot;Agriculture is one of few industries treated in that fashion,&uot; Ater said.