September 7, 2016 Edition

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Jerry Morgan (left) welcomes attendees at a meeting on Aug. 31 during which Lawrence County farmers, especially those who farm up and down the rivers in the county, were able to share with officials about the losses they suffered from the flooding in May and August of 2016.
TD Photo ~ Gretchen Hunt

Farmers share stories
following floods in LawCo.

Gretchen Hunt

It was a packed house on Aug. 31 when Lawrence County farmers, especially those who farm along the rivers in the county, gathered to share information about the losses they have suffered during the 2016 season.

Jerry Morgan of Lynn facilitated the meeting, which was held at the Lynn Community Center.

Among those in attendance were Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward, Nathan Davis and Ron Chastain from Sen. John Boozman's office, Mitchell Nail from Cong. Rick Crawford's office and Jeff Morris from Sen. Tom Cotton's office. They briefly addressed the group after hearing damage reports.

"Fifteen to 20 inches of rain fell up and down the river (in August)," Morgan explained, noting that many farmers had already replanted crops that were washed away in May flooding.

"I farm 4,400 acres," Morgan said. "We will roll a combine through about 1,200 acres."

Morgan invited farmers in attendance to share their stories, many of which echoed the last. Reports were given of soybean crops that were totally destroyed and rice crops that were still submerged.

The following is just a selection of reports that were shared by different farmers:

"It got all our beans (in the spring). We went back and replanted and it got them again." - David Glenn

"I've lost 2,500 acres, 1,500 acres of rice and 1,000 acres of soybeans." - Stan Jones

"I farm 1,600 acres. I'll probably harvest 150 acres of beans out of 1,000 and I lost 200 acres of rice." - Wendell Saffell

"I'll lose probably 400 acres of beans. The rice is completely under – it's been under too long." - Jim Penn

"I have 800 acres on the river. It's all rice, and it's all gone." - Brittany Schmidt

Those in attendance also discussed losses in the forestry industry due to the flooding.

Lawrence County Extension Agent Herb Ginn said that the outlook for the rice that was submerged is not good, and that other rice farmers in the county were also facing possible quality and yield issues.

Earlier in the day, farmers gathered for a similar meeting in Randolph County.

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