Ida’s Impact on Ag

Aug 31, 2021

Ida has arrived and she’s not a pleasant houseguest.

The storm roared onto U.S. soil Sunday with 150-mph winds, leaving over 1M+ homes and businesses without power. Despite its downgraded status to a tropical storm, Ida continued to wreak havoc on Gulf Coast levees, too.

And for agriculture, the timing is less than ideal.

A bummer for cotton. The fiber crop was on a tear in 2021, showing its best rating in five years with 71% of acres being rated good-to-excellent as of last week. Producers in the Delta and Southeast regions shared that the risk of flood damage to open cotton bolls and desiccating soybeans could crush end-of-season expectations.

Add in potential field flooding that could push field work back weeks and Ida could really make her mark.

Important to note: USDA officials reminded producers in the region of their partnership with FEMA to aid in disaster relief. Their disaster assistance discovery tool even helps find resources specifically targeted to rural and agricultural issues.

One other wild note: Ida was whipping up so much water that a U.S. Geological Survey gauge near New Orleans detected a ‘negative flow’ on the Mississippi River. In other words, the mighty Mississippi was flowing North, backward from its geological norm, an occurrence not seen since Hurricane Isaac in 2012.