Rising waters flood farms in low lying areas

Published 11:58 pm Sunday, May 24, 2009

NATCHEZ — Farm work in Anna’s Bottom has slogged to a soggy halt for the time being.

For the past several weeks, the rising Mississippi River has been pouring into the low-lying farming area located north of Natchez in Adams County.

The farmers who work in the bottom did their best to build up levees and harvest what they could before the water took their crops, but now they’re stuck with waiting for the river to fall.

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“There is nothing we can do until the water starts to retreat,” Farmer Ross McGehee said. “We are watching the crops standing in the water.”

In recent weeks, the farmers have had to eyeball the point to where they believed the river would stop rising, and maintain their fields to that point.

“You can see the weeds out there where we quit spraying, but they are about to drown in a few days,” McGehee said.

Now, however, it’s time for them to take care of what chores they can while waiting for the water.

“We have got some maintenance we can do on the farms while we can’t do any farming,” McGehee said. “We can work on some of the machinery.

“I have been working on some ditches, but the water has continued to rise and is actually in some of the ditches.”

The rising water has also made it so the farmers aren’t the only ones in the fields.

Deer have taken to eating what crops aren’t drowning under the river, and river birds have found a new temporary home.

“The shore birds are having a marvelous time wading in the edge of the water,” McGehee said.

There are other visitors who aren’t as fun to have around, however.

“The other day I renamed a farm ‘Moccasin Meadows,’ because I’m surrounded by water and snakes,” McGehee said. “If you lose your sense of humor, you might as well get out of this profession.”

The Mississippi River is expected to crest today at 54.1 feet, 6.1 feet above flood stage.