Flood will not affect prices

Published 12:20 am Monday, April 14, 2008

NATCHEZ — The delay in planting that many farmers will have to face due to the rising Mississippi River will not likely have a “trickle-up” effect on national markets.

“There hasn’t been a lot of attention paid to the flooding in the national markets,” Agriculture Economist John Anderson said. “The flooding we’re seeing hasn’t been significant enough to raise concerns about the national supply.”

Farmland along the river has been flooded since the river first reached flood stage at 48 feet, and with the river expected to crest at 56.5 feet April 20, it will be a while before farmers can access their land, much less use it.

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When the river crested at 56.7 feet in 1973, it took approximately a month for the river to subside to below flood stage.

What makes this year’s high water particularly contentious is that after the river crests, a second, slightly lower crest will follow.

“That means the river won’t go any higher, but it will stay higher longer,” said Reynold Minsky, president of the Fifth District Levee Board.

And while it won’t hurt the national markets, the high water will have an effect on local farmers.

“For individual farmers, it is a big issue, and if it keeps them out of the field long enough it is definitely going to effect the yield that they are going to get,” Anderson said. “It may affect the acreage of what is planted.”