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|Uncertainty in farming community|
County Agent Glen Daniels said this week some parish farmers face an uncertain future after two straight years of hurricanes and heavy rains during the harvest period and drought conditions during the growing season this year.
"This year has been a nightmare," said Daniels. "I don't know how many farmers are going to have the will to go own and how many will get financed."
He said the depressed national economy is also making things worse.
"It's just bad," he said, while noting that the harvest season is about over.
"The cotton did a bit better than what we anticipated recently following the days of rain," he said. "We had some acreage that averaged 800 to 1000 pounds of cotton. But the prices are only about 40 to 45 cents a pound for the farmer," while the cost of production on dryland cotton makes the financial outcome dim.
He said many farmers averaged only 650 to 700 pounds per acre after the rains and the grade is poor.
The rice crop, he said, was averaging 160 to 180 bushels per acre before the harvest was halted by rainfall. Since then the average bushel per acre harvest had dropped to about 130 bushels.
He said soybean farmers averaged about 20 bushels per acre, while some of the corn crop couldn't be harvested due to Aflatoxin, which is toxic to animals.
"This has just been a depressed year for farmers," said McDaniel, "and the attitude is one of the lowest I've seen. After a sizable investment, these farmers had to replant during the spring due to heavy rains, then faced a severe drought and at harvest time couldn't harvest because of the rain."
But don't count the farmers out, he said.
"We've really had three years of bad crops," said Daniels. "But the willpower of farmers is inspiring and many will come back knowing what they are facing. We just don't know how many."
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